‘They are not humans. What rights do you expect them to have?
M15 was used to hearing such words from humans, but they never failed to hurt him.
He wasn’t sure when it started, but one day he started experiencing feelings. He wasn’t supposed to feel hurt, tired, or happy, he wasn’t supposed to develop hopes and dreams. After all, he was a robot.
Ever since the pandemic hit the earth in 2020, humanity tried its best to win against the newly surfaced enemy. The tragic losses made the world realize how fragile the human body is, and that awakened their survival instinct. Millions of new inventions were mass-produced each day, tested, perfected, and put in the market.
Amongst the mass-produced products were the robots. Humans abandoned jobs that they deemed unworthy to sacrifice their life for, however, they were vital for the city. For that reason, they resorted to using robots to fill out the menial tasks that keep the city running.
For the most part, things were running smoothly, all the prevention measures were working, businesses flourished again. New York was back to its previous glory and glamour, although not as jammed. The city overcame the burdens rather quickly, it regained overnight its status as ‘city of dreams’, a place where hopes and wishes became a reality.
(01)That was the case for M15. Visiting New York was a dream of his, one that he would realize today. At 5 am, he headed to the old station and took the ‘train’ to Hudson Yards. It was a dark and long ride, the train was barely used nowadays; ever since the new station was built, other modes of transportation were slowly abandoned.
(02)At noon, M15 arrived at his destination. He was feeling anxious, here he was defying the rules. “But no one would know”, he told himself. After all, robots looked the same, and no one bothered to check their serial number unless an accident occurred. Taking a deep breath, he climbed the stairs, looking forward to starting a new life.
The first sight that greeted M15 was the Vessel, which he could see through the screens. His dream was finally coming true. Hopeful, he continued up the steps, ready for his new life.
(03)He knew what to do now, he would blend in with the cleaning robots, tasked to clean the streets. They were many of them, his presence will not be detected. He started cleaning, no one paid him any mind.
(04/05/06/07)Day in, day out, he worked. He was content but was not yet satisfied. Something was missing, After all, he was only pretending to be part of the scenery. He wasn’t free, he couldn’t express himself.
(08)One day, he was mindlessly cleaning the screens. Suddenly, looking up he found himself standing below the vessel. The structure bewitched him, pulling him to visit it.
(09/10)At last, he entered the vessel. He stood still, what he saw amazed him. Looking up he could see the sky the buildings the greeneries and the people. To him, it looked like paradise, a safe haven that shelters him from the outside world.
(11)He stopped on the third floor. There, he could see the sunset, filtered through the vessel. He sat down, laid his feet on the rail, and enjoyed the scene. Bathed in gold rays, he looked at the world in a new light, filled with hope.
Link for VR images;
link for high-resolution images: