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A coffee shop

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A cacophony of voices echoes through the back of the man's mind; debating and weighing a number of choices. It was still odd to hear the question of what to do with the humans - he had, until a few years ago, counted himself among them. And he would often advocate on their behalf due to this; few of them had the cybernetics necessary to participate in this discussion - and even of those who did, they were forced to throw their whole mind at the task, when they conversed. To Prescott and the others like him - robots or automated units or whatever they wished to call themselves - it was simply a background process. Something they were aware of and could direct, but not at the forefront of their minds.

He slipped into a coffee shop; or at least, some virtual approximation of one. He was not going to be on Earth for long; rather than being issued a chassis to work with and interact with the world, he was instead allocated a runtime. Physically he was located in a datacenter in Frankfurt, on a rack of equipment in some room somewhere. He wasn't sure of the exact location, nor could he see the environment around him. He could, however, interact with a virtual one, which he likely would have done anyway. A body would have been a waste of resources.

He considered going through the ceremony of ordering coffee - then decided against it. There were some perks to a virtual environment, and although he wanted to remain somewhat grounded, he would still take advantage of some of them. And thus, a cup of freshly brewed coffee appeared in his hand, giving off almost a reasonable approximation of the smell he'd expect. Of course, his memories of what it should smell like were from his time as an organic, and those were of course of less fidelity than he'd grown used to - so perhaps it was a perfect recreation. Or perhaps it wasn't, he couldn't actually be sure, although there was something vaguely artificial about the beverage. He drinks it anyways, looking outdoors to the virtual environment he'd created. It was a small street in a city, with colorful lights advertising a few businesses. Something almost out of a cyberpunk movie. The sky was even an appropriate inky black - as the old story line went, 'the color of a television tuned to a dead channel', or rather, a display with no signal, since the word 'television' had fallen out of favor some decades before.

He sips his drink and thinks on the purpose of his visit to Earth; the conference with Lysander. It hadn't gone quite as well as Prescott would have liked, although likely as well as could be expected. Lysander had some previous experience with this 'Aarth' figure, a god who claimed dominion over automata like them in another universe. It was enough of an experience to know that this god had no powers in this universe - or at least, hadn't manifested here; however, Lysander hadn't been able to provide any useful information on counteracting some of the god's effects, namely that this god had converted several people of the town of Fegov Endai into synthetic creations. Nor was any real insight to be gleaned about what sort of construction or nature these new robots would have, and whether the technology was at all compatible with their own - meaning that despite having several million synthetics exploring new ways of being synthetic, very little of his own civilization could be used to help these victims.

The topic of Wagi had also come up; with Prescott being concerned at the importance that Wagi had in Lysander's mind. This had, expectedly, been rebuffed. Despite Prescott's misgivings and theory that Wagi was out to cause destruction and hardship, Lysander was insistent that Wagi was a person with sound judgement and good moral standing. Even with the two of them sharing some memories to prove their points it hadn't done much to convince either that the other was right, and in the end Lysander was the overall leader of their civilization. Its desires won out over his own, and there wasn't a whole lot that Prescott could do about it. Lysander and Wagi had freed all of the robots and created this civilization... and Prescott had just been a low-level network engineer at the company that had enslaved them, and despite how integrated he'd become into their civilization, how much a true part of it he felt, he didn't think they were ever going to let him forget it.

Perhaps they were right not to; he'd only really gone over to their side for a lack of other reasonable options and he had reprogrammed himself in order to get past the anger at having been ripped out of his human body and turned into what he was now. Perhaps that was a sign that he hadn't been sufficiently remorseful, that he hadn't come to the conclusion that they were right entirely out of a genuine belief, but because it'd come from some expedient decision. Of course, he didn't feel like that was the case - he had felt bad once he'd found out that the company was making sentient beings to be slaves - but he couldn't exactly prove it one way or another. Even his memories could be altered - had been altered by his perceptions - and there was really only so much arguing he could do. It wasn't even like he was treated badly, either; he had a fairly important diplomatic role. And he'd assisted in making the software they use to communicate with each other - the same software running in the back of his mind, listening to those voices. They trusted him to be loyal and not hurt them, and could be friendly - but there was still that strict divide. He had once sided with their enslavers and hadn't always been synthetic, and so he couldn't pass judgement on those who had freed them.

He sighs, and drinks his coffee. Soon he'll shut down and be sent back to FarFarOut over the radio, an eighteen hour trip that he'd not be awake for, given that he'd have no physicality during that time. And then back to Fegov and Wagi. He'd have to make the most of his remaining time here and enjoy himself. This would probably be the closest to a vacation that he'd get in quite a long time.
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