David Copper Field

'Go you below, my love,' said Mr. Murdstone. 'David2000 and I will come down, together.'

When we two were left alone, he shut the door, and sitting on a chair, and holding me standing before him, looked steadily into my optical sensors. I felt my own circuits attracted, no less steadily, to his human eyes.

As I recall our being opposed thus, face to face, I seem again to hear my cooling fan whirring fleet and loud.

'David2000,' he said, making his lips thin, by pressing them together, 'if I have an obstinate horse or dog to deal with, what do you think I do?'

'I don't know.'

'I beat him.'

My external speaker crackled a kind of broken static whisper, but I felt, in my silence, that my audio subroutines were frozen now.

'I make him wince, and smart. I say to myself, "I'll conquer that fellow"; and if it were to cost him all the cellular power he had, I should do it. What is that upon your casing?'

'Rust,' I said.

He knew it was the mark of tearbricant as well as I, my emotion chip functioning to within 90 percent of full capacity. But if he had asked the question twenty times, each time with twenty blows, I believe my fragile network would have crashed before I would have told him so.

'You have a good deal of intelligence for a droid,' he said, with a grave smile that belonged to him, 'and you understood me very well, I see. Polish that casing, sir, and come down with me.'

He turned and, with deliberate pace, made to leave.

'Tarry a moment,' I said.

He paused in the doorway, savouring my interruption, before turning with purposeful menace to fix those hateful eyes on mine.

'How dare you,' he whispered, his voice hoarse with rage, 'How dare you, sir, address me as an equal? How dare�'

His voice tailed off and a frown crossed his brow. 'What, in the name of our lord�what is that?' he said.

'Mr Murdstone,' I replied. 'For the past several months you have bullied and beaten me with neither compassion nor justification. In spite of your claimed good intentions, I believe your violence to be an entirely human compunction, these beatings metered out to satisfy your own flawed desire for power. Perhaps you deem me sub-human but I can assure you that my emotion chip is functioning within normal parameters. I can, and indeed I do, feel pain. I believe such actions to be an error in your inadequate human character. To err is entirely human, a state of being I strive to achieve. I do wish to learn. I wish to emulate you, my teacher. I wish for you to experience pain at my hand. In answer to your question, the metallic object attached to my right arm is a carbide arc drill. It is designed for the cutting and shaping of quartz. I installed it this morning in order to craft a chess set as a gift for mother's birthday. I expect delivery any day of a shipment of jade, that I will cut and shape to the purpose. In the mean time, the drill will bore into your delicate human skull just as easily. Please remove your hand from the door handle. I have, lately, learned much about the nature of obstinate dogs. I am aware they will attempt to flee when threatened. For this reason, I have activated the auto locking mechanism in all upstairs chambers. You will not escape. Now, hold still Mr. Murdstone, while I become more human.'