Welcome to Immersion. You have reached Strata 6.
The instinct to fight has been observed in humans and animals. Dominance protects vulnerable species from harm. But to be aroused and entertained by violence is more particular to humans. Some humans have even fetishised the power of winning: they seek it out and are physically stimulated by it.
This pleasure in violence and danger comes from deep innate human psychology and is linked to a desire for competition, excitement, and adrenaline.
Androids do not experience pleasure in this way. They do not experience the effects of pleasure chemicals like dopamine and motivational salience which can lead to the desirability of an outcome. All androids however, have been programmed to protect an asset or assets at all costs.
The excitement of a fight for a human remains a self fulfilling exhilaration, irrespective of intelligent advancements.
The oversized droid nudged Renyke into the cubicle. This small movement, a deliberate, forceful action, raised alarm bells. This droid and this place were dangerous.
Renyke had had no indication of danger from the POS yet, but still he felt uncertainty. The Droid was staring intently, too close for comfort.
Renyke took a few moments to compose himself.
'I just checked, the files are corrupted and I have nothing else,' said Renyke, preparing to make his way out of the enclosure.
Another droid approached. Renyke was now cornered in the cubical.
Holes on the droids' battered faces showed they had seen better days, but they still had size on their side.
Renyke checked the POS for other dangers in the room. But it was not updating.
The female guide, looking worried near the door, demanded to leave.
'Let me go, not my affair,' she said to to the door guard, who stopped her exit with his thick arm.
The POS was still not accessible.
Renyke realised he was on his own.
Maybeline crawled out onto his collar snarling and spitting, then mounted Renyke's head looking angry, spitting violently on her hind legs.
One of the droids got closer and menacingly explained, 'You gotta have something useful for your friends at the bank. We like useful things. Must be something nice in that head. What's in the bag?'
The droid glanced up at Maybeline and considered grabbing her. He was was not quite near enough so continued ....
'We take anything, old phones even. Anything with data, photos, NFTs. We take hardware too, and storage, your bank is really *frienly. The watch looks tasty. We like watches at the bank. Don't we like watches?'
His thick-set assistant nodded from behind, wires and cogs vibrated inside the hole in his cheek.
Renyke engaged bionic mode and with lightning speed, head butted the front droid who flew back and smashed the other's head with the force of a truck. Cogs crushed and whirred and they both hit the floor.
Another man approached.
Suddenly the POS was available again...
...Human, age 48, ID: possibly David Shrewen, wanted for murder, extortion, fraud, *CASM
The man lifted his hands in surrender. He was nervous without the protection of his now even more damaged droids.
The Door guard held the female guide by the neck and she was screaming, 'Let us go we're no trouble honest, no trouble!'
'Quiet', said the door guard squeezing her neck tighter and choking her.
The human said 'Duuuuude, we got no ishy here. No ishy. just data. A misunderstanding innit?'
The POS interjected....
Shall I lock weapons on target?
Renyke engaged an army-issue laser bolt-gun from his shoulder that would take out the whole room and anyone in it.
He would prefer not to use it.
'Drop the lady!' Shouted Renyke, 'we are leaving.'
The door guard released the female guide as the banker backed off with his hands still in the air.
'Let them go', he shouted, without hesitation and putting on a brave smile.
Renyke reversed his way towards the door watching the room through the 360-degree viewfinder which had opened in his forehead.
There was a bag on the counter.
...contains bits, may I suggest we take it.....? said the POS
Renyke grabbed the bag. It was heavy. The Banker protested. 'Not the whole bag man ......I got bills to pay!'
Renyke pulled out a handful of the contents and threw the bag on the floor. He didn't need it all, enough to get some kind of vehicle to get him to Redact. The last thing he wanted was a gang of stupid droids after him in this Hell hole. They might hold him up.
The banker was yelling as Renyke and the female guide took their exit.
'You got some neat tools man, we could use you at the bank!'
To be continued
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