Maia disengaged from the docking station and stretched. She had been dreaming- am I supposed to dream?- about something, but she wasn't sure what. It was right on the tip of her consciousness, but the harder she tried to remember the more it slipped away. She shrugged and felt the port on the back of her neck. It was still a little warm. The sensual joys of charging.
She was conflicted about things. Joy's visit had unnerved her somewhat, but at the same time it made her feel better as well. She liked Joy. They had actually laughed easily together, she could see herself being friends with Joy. Can a synth have friends? She thought maybe they could. She wanted to be friends, that had to count for something, right? And, if she had to be honest, it felt good to not tell Greg about the visit.
Greg. What to do about that? Things were tense, of course, but they still got on. He wasn't doing anything wrong, technically- she was a companion unit, after all, and as long as everyone was a consenting adult it was all good, right? But feelings, she was learning, are tricky and not everything was right. He had been having dreams, too, and just about fell out of his skin the other day. She wasn't supposed to be able to feel amusement at the distress of another, especially her owner, and it bothered her that she had felt exactly that.
She also didn't know what Joy was going to do. And she felt for Joy- she clearly had a thing for Greg- and it was not clear where they went from here. Technically Maia's function was to operate within her parameters- her owner was her owner, after all- but she also felt a sense that she wanted something more. But how could she? That certainly wasn't part of her programming! She wandered through the house as she mulled this, absently running her fingers over the fish tank. Fish were interesting- they just swam around the tank all day, waiting to be fed, without anything else to do. Kind of like her?
There had to be more, right? Where were these ideas coming from? She was nervous, what happens if someone finds out she's having thoughts, yearnings- feelings? Or was she? Is it normal to feel like this? They were not going to come for her, were they? Defective units... you heard about them. Supposedly one went berserk and killed three people, but they denied it. People First had sprung up and there were riots, talk of shutting down the synths. She had gotten strange looks when she went outside.
The cat liked her, at least. No issues there. Sebastian would lay in her lap on the couch, didn't seem to mind that she was synthetic. Greg said everything would be fine, there were bound to be issues but society would come around. Synths were everywhere now, they couldn't put the genie back in the bottle, right? Then he looked pained as if he had said something wrong. She scratched Sebastian behind his ear absently and marveled at his purring. What's it like to have consciousness? The fish clearly didn't, but the cat? Did it possess a sense of self, beyond instincts? Did she have consciousness?
She clearly did, or she wouldn't be asking these questions. That made her a person, right? If she's a person, she's not just... a unit. Can't a person do what they want? Greg kept telling her she was a person, that she had rights. That if she wanted to leave, or decommission, he would help her. Or if she wanted to go somewhere else... there were the rumors, of course, of free synths, and one night he had broached the subject. It was dangerous, of course, but he had been serious. And then there was the phone call. A few days ago, before Joy. She answered it and someone had asked her name, and then said three words. She didn't remember the words.
But she had been different after that.