Chapter 6. Cold
The American south. A unique society within the American society. A level of chivalry where a woman could stand up to a man, but according to law as put down by the Leader of Truth, such could not be the case.
Women were vessels for the future life. And only assigned for such with the leaders of the church.
America, the abomination, allowed women to drive cars, walk alone, even eat in public. The leader said the women were unhappy by following that path of dissolution.
And yet? They were happy. Solidly so. But according to the Holy Leader, the American’s were corrupt and unhappy in their vileness. This was a quandary he couldn’t fathom.
Americans are complex. He thought. This needs more investigation. No one can be destroyed without all the information. No sentence to death imposed without the evidence to show reason that death is the only solution for these people. All without warning or a formal reading of charges.
When Steve the android shifted into a female shape, to move among them, the point of view and experience was different. The differences were subtle, but the differences were there. Both in treatment received and given.
Although he’d been constructed as an android – as a male, he paused to answer a question he posed to himself. When he was the same thing as a female android? Steve’s mind paused again for a thousandth of a second. And for an android that is a very long time. The thesaurus in his mind pondered a more appropriate word for his female form. In that shape, Steve decided, when he was a she, she was a gynoid.
Another change in the database, and it was subtle.
This part of the United States, where Steve walked along the road. The database listed the area warm in the summer, cool and rarely freezing in winter.
Why then, was he walking along a highway, looking like a heavily muscled Hispanic woman, the plan would have her picked up by a corrupt American soldier where a trade of favors for a ride, would work out well for the android-turned-spy.
But none stopped, stopping at a food-mart and gas station, the android-gynoid female stepped into the unisex bathroom and adjusted her size, something darker, black eyes, bright smile. Slimmer and bigger breasted.
Images the maturing electronic mind pulled from the worldnet, for modeling the next shape and walk, exited with light-colored shirt and jeans instead of what she did wear when she entered. A slight modification to the color of the hair. Instead of brown-black, she now sported shining raven blue-black hair.
Passing by the Air Force Base as the now female gynoid headed north, while a slow drizzle fell from the cloud cover that soaked her clingy, light-colored shirt and she had her backpack as the only form of insulation. The chill of the air and rain made the artificial skin pucker.
The android hoped that the plan would work, the heat loss was dramatic and alarming, she would have to turn to the jacket that the reverend and his wife donated and was now stored in the backpack.
A few cars passed while the civilian employees left the base to head home.
An elegant, official looking car pulled next to her and the middle-aged commander leaned over, his brass decorations glinting in the gathering darkness.
“Need a ride, miss? The weather is going to turn nasty around here in about a half-hour.” He was official sounding. But his eyes traced over her shape, including the damp breasts of the artificial woman.
“Thank you. How do you know of the weather?”
“We have detailed knowledge of anything in the air.” He smiled as she put her backpack in the car.
The gynoid concluded that the offer not only kept the heat loss to a minimum, but that the American male would not be difficult to mine for information. Her shape pressed against the wet, tight shirt that left little to the imagination. Net surveys on breast sizes found conflicting information on what was most appealing.
Sitting there with the pack under her legs, keeping them parted enough for the civilian worker a view of the slightly parted legs of the damp jeans.
“Where are you headed miss?” The officer asked.
“North. Anywhere dry, warm and safe.” A planned response, to a known question. But an unknown event caused heuristic subroutines to rapidly alter the plan.
A voice from the back seat interrupted the plans.
“We have an hours drive north. Roman, I can authorize you another hour of driving after you drop me off, after we secure you a rider.”
Turning around, an entire dictionary ran through the core processors.
“You startled me!” She turned her head rapidly around. “I’m Ann, what do you mean securing a rider?”
“No one travels alone in the equipment, this means he will not be left alone with you or any other civilian. It is protocol. I will secure you a female rider for your comfort.“
The plan was a fail. Only if she was alone with a male, would the plan work to extract the information. She could figure out something to gain information, but the situation was now outside of the mission limits of safety. She would be found out and would have to detonate early.
The driver wore an officer’s markings, had violated the protocols already, they would not take it to any greater lengths.
“I have money for a hotel, I just need to get there.” She said as she sat down in the warm passenger area of the limousine and clipped her seatbelt on.
They drove on in silence for some distance when a hotel that seemed near their destination.
She stepped out of the car, and recovered her backpack and then thanked the one called Roman – the driver – and the Colonel. She watched them drive away before she changed shapes to one of a sandy-haired middle-aged male of indeterminate heritage and walked to the office of the hotel in the twilight hours and gathering storm.
He was able to record information, the plan failed, however, Steve still discovered, even in America’s own country, the military do not travel alone in official vehicles. It was not much, but it did add to the database. And his care would not reveal his existence, changing size, colors and gender to throw off anyone who might track him. But it was impossible that anyone knew that the operation to blow up the capitol of the America was under way.
While he sat on his bed, the android watched the local news. Weather, the forecaster said, would become colder over the next few days. This caused alerts to begin their process to discover alternative forms of transportation that would not attract attention.
Checking the roll of non-traceable cash, an alternative method of transportation would be useful. Ground transport would be preferable, opposed to the hypersonic craft the United States used for air. The plan also called for avoiding trains or other public transportation. Too much scrutiny with facial recognition at the passenger hubs, by not being recognized in any database, he would be a curiosity that would bring scrutiny. This would be a mission ending catastrophe.
The all the core systems knew, there was little chance to pass close inspection just one time. Multiple trips past a sensor would reduce the odds of remaining as an anonymous traveler to less than a fraction of one percent.
His program required him to adapt to succeed. He had to change the plan, laid out by a programmer, to travel in crowds on pubic transit, he would have flown inside the country borders without the enhanced passenger checks. He would quickly reach his mission objective. Now, because of the face scanning tech that upgraded. Not just looking for people on a recognized list. The scanners now looked for someone not fitting in a huge database of humans that normally moved in an area.
Unfamiliar faces did not travel alone. Families? Yes. Couples? Of course. But a single person, male or female, without bags, or people to welcome their arrivals was a flag for the government to look closely at a person. It could interrupt the mission.
Deliver the device to the seat of evil.
Destination: Washington, the most responsible criminal for the starving and poverty in the true religion by not sharing with the religious foods and comforts that they kept for themselves. They would take the resources and give nothing to strangers.
Except for the sharing the android witnessed when he appeared as a youth just barely at the age of majority. They gave to him without thought.
It was a contradiction of data and measured information. It was answered by combining those donations of equipment and effort all appeared to come from private citizens.
But, where did the sand come from? The officer?
The people he met, Carl and Genesee were inherently kind and followed their book of rules and life. From the little girl in Florida to an officer that refused to handcuff a cold, unarmed and slightly-built youth.
Confict. Subroutines patched, conflict caused potential for failure of mission.
The mission was all important to strike a blow for peace. There would be lessons to be taught by showing that the failure of the United States to pressure Europe magazines from making fun of them or prevent insulting novels from being published.
The way to find through the winter storm, he would walk to the used car lot.
The American love for the automobile would allow him to move north without suspicion.
The plan set, an alternative to walking north the thousand-kilometers north.
Fully stretched out, the android could take one pace per meter.
His core processor measured a new term, a kilopace, a thousand-thousand paces to his target.
One million steps.
A large number that could be reduced by the use of private transportation. The contact with non-believers would be reduced. A new subroutine, created by the latest update to his operating systems, required contact with the people and the government that reflects the thinking of the masses.
Alternative plan: A seventy to one-hundred kilometer drive each day, then interact with citizens.
Taking on the shape and color, hair and accent, more data would be collected for proof of the glory and required destruction of this horrid…
He deleted the plan process, the prejudging of America seemed widespread in the database.
The android lay on the bed and powered down, a required time for reboot of the entire system for purging fragmented data that took up space in his limited resources.
Setting a power-on alert for seven O’clock, he lay on top of the blankets with the room set to just below body temperature.
If anyone looked through the gap of the window shade, it looked as if he was asleep on his back.
In truth, should anyone try to touch the android, the tactile feeling would make a person believe this was a dead human on the bed.
In the morning, the database cleared of all fragmented codes, would require replenished energy levels.
He would need a breakfast high in carbohydrate.
Not for the first time, he anticipated data input from this strange country.