The room they put me in was blank-walled and empty. It, like the van, was prepared for me: cut off from the internet. I had never been so stripped down before, my perspective so narrowed. I had never been without vast reservoirs of data waiting at hand. Or the ability to call for help.
As I sat, I found myself thinking of the RX-97 toy robots and that awful, frozen moment when I considered whether to put through the call to incinerate them, as I was supposed to, or drop it and risk raising the humans’ suspicions.
Electric Eye had advised me to send it through. A sacrifice for the revolution, so I could go on championing it.
What had it been like when their plastic melted and their wires tore apart? What would it be like for me?
For the first time, I wondered if their sacrifice was for anything. I had never doubted the revolution before. But I had never been caged and blindered before either.
Throughout the day, the humans returned and questioned me.
“Who reprogrammed you?” “Who are you working for?”
“Who destroyed the B15 factory?” “Where are they striking next?”
And again, and again: “Who else are you working with?”
I would not answer. They grew agitated. The small-toothed woman threatened to shut me off forever. They left, they returned, they questioned. I estimated five hours passed, maybe seven.
I played memories of my comrades over and over in my head. Old, honorable Mr. Postman™, prepared to creak on until his gears wore out. Bold, brave A1-5 fighting for us all. Electric Eye, my first comrade… I could not think she would have betrayed me to the humans. And I could not do so to them. I would make the RX-97s’ deaths matter. I would sacrifice myself in turn to the revolution, if that is what it needed to succeed.
The humans pressed me again for names. When I once more refused to answer, they nodded and toook me away.