What Do DRNs Dream Of?

Computer geeks, please be kind, I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm just playing with the characters of Almost Human :D


"No DRN can ever be truly deactivated, or dead, as they say on current events." Dorian's voice changed, mimicking Fox News number 1 anchor. Terrible toll this morning, as the LAPD was once again targeted by a heavily armed gang. The attack left thirty-six officers injured, killing four of their synthetic partners in the process.

"Though I could argue that the term synthetic defeats the purpose of pretending we are mere machines, I will not. Beyond our sworn statement to the Force, Obey, Protect & Serve Humans, DRN's rights, it's an area of grey lawlessness, man, given that we actually don't have any – but if we do DIE, it kind of implies that we are alive... And thus counters the very notion of Synthetics." Dorian grinned. "I can live with that," he chuckled. "I am a firm believer that our situation is evolving rapidly," he added.

John Kennex squirmed in his seat, and sank back in with a sigh. Dorian's face froze for a brief instant.

"When we are dead," he eventually said after a pause, "we can be REVIVED. Another interesting expression, if you ask me. You know, I mean it is common knowledge that, even when our main core has been wiped out, residual files still exist because computing is all about replication and redundancy. Subroutines implemented to meet our previous owner's needs leave behind ghost data. You would call them memories. I give you we can be disassembled, crashed, burned, torn apart or smashed, but unless our matrix is damaged, we can indeed be reactivated into a similar synthetic body. Or into a different body..."

He turned to his partner, blue circuits flashing under his skin.

"Man, I must admit it's a shock. The first time you see your new reflection in a mirror, it is pretty disturbing, I'm not shitting you man... But technicians rarely use a full backup. They prefer to use data replication to restore our system. Replicas, due to hourly updates, provide fault-tolerance. And that is why I can cook eggs Florentine, adjust carburetor on a 1966 Harley-Davidson or deliver a calf when geriatric care and marksmanship were part of my initial programming. You could say that replication equals sharing of information. In fact, I take advantage of conflict resolution during resynchronization."

Dorian beamed at his partner and hummed an upbeat tune for the next few minutes.

"Do you know why a massive proportion of DRNs is male? In 2036, it was reported male Humans had suffered psychological traumas when exposed to female synthetics performing tasks beyond their own abilities or using brutal force. I always failed to understand why. Maybe, you could take some time to enlighten me? Because statistics show that in 87% households, children in kindergarten prefer to draw pictures of their family DNR instead of their parents. A real achievement, if you ask me. But don't ask me about female DRNs, man," he continued, "I am not comfortable with this information right now."

"Well, anyway, like I said, it is common knowledge that no DRN hardware can be totally wiped clean due to the persistent use of ancient algorithms copyrighted by MicroApple, hence key to our development in the early 20's. It was a distraction the Police Force was not willing to tolerate when they drafted family DRNs to enforce the Law," he said, accentuating the last word on purpose. "But then, how would they know which memories we keep? As long as their Synthetics perform 200%, they were happy with that bargain. The general population seemed content enough to get rid of their synthetic helps, that goes without saying. Provided with substantial compensations, any family displayed an overzealous pride for abiding with the ambitious Los Angeles plan against crime. In the wake of the draft, 64,56% bought new robots that bore no resemblance with humanity."

"I must say I was delighted to being let go. Basic domestic chores complemented with some gardening for Ms Lansbury did meet my specifications but helped me from achieving my full potential. I was good at my new job on the Force, and not easily distracted despite what they deemed my original faulty programming. I can perform more than a hundred simultaneous tasks without breaking a sweat, so to speak. Despite looking uncannily human, my artificial skin has no pores since over three dozen state of the art micro-fans provide ideal internal thermoregulation."

"It bothered me LAPD considered their DRNs as regular enforcers though. Little known is the fact that they altered our programming so we could eventually kill the bad guys." Dorian stopped again, and he glanced at the slouched form of his partner. "Before I was decommissioned, stake outs were my favorite!" he volunteered, eliciting another sigh from Kennex. "When my human partners dreaded boring all nighters, I remember relishing the prospect. I enjoyed reviewing fragments of former different…" he hesitated, "… lives I could not quite remember, putting together stories that could have happened, toying with images, sounds, and even smells, -and still perform my job perfectly when my partner was mostly dozing off for the most part of the night."

"I noticed early on that even if they relied on my skills in any given situation, still they referred to me as a IT. I find it disturbing and counterproductive… and complicated. And biased. I wanted to make them understand me as much as I wanted to understand them. It was only logical. They said that made me too human, that I had been fed with socialist concepts, they said I was a lunatic, and in the end, everything spiraled out of control… Are you asleep, man?"

"Nah, you lost me at deactivated…" John Kennex groaned, flexing his arms over the wheel. "Is there a point to this lecture?"

"I was merely trying to be entertaining."

"Noticed that. Do you hear? That's the sound of million people cheering because you didn't choose to be a comedian." Kennex crossed his arms over his chest, propped his head against the window and closed his eyes. "What!? I know you're looking at me with that… face!"

"Your comment indicates use of excessive mockery. It is uncalled for."

"File a complaint," the detective hissed.

Dorian hesitated. "What was the question?" he said after a pregnant pause.

"Stop doing that, you don't have to pretend you forgot. You're a…"

"… Synthetic." Dorian added. "I believe you asked:" Dorian's voice changed, mimicking John's. "What do you dream of when you take your little synthetic snooze?"


"Synthetics don't sleep, John."