Korhin had a ground transportation vehicle waiting for us. The vehicle required no driver or pilot, instead it was operated by a computer, so unlike the vehicles of Earth, the seats were arranged so the occupants face each other. I suddenly found myself sitting next to Carlee, facing Korhin and Ven - who was the last to enter the vehicle. He scowled at the sight of Carlee and me together.
I had not been this close to Crlee in two weeks, but it was better than having to stare at her sitting on the seat across from me. this way I didn't have to see the pain on her face.
"I can see how your physical attributes were patterned after your owner," Korhin commented. "That's unusual. Most synthetics are patterned after a species but their features are generally selected to make the synthetic unique. We have engineers who can change your physical attributes if you would like."
"No, I like the way I look." Surprise that he would even offer such a thing filled me. Of course, I looked like Carlee, I was her brother.
But he was right, I realized. I didn't look like Carlee because we had the same parents - the same genetics. I had been designed to look like her. Looking in the mirror every day, I would be reminded of her - and how she had been the center of my programming and I had abandoned her. I could see the temptation to change my eye color or my nose so i would be reminded a little less of her. But I wouldn't give in. I deserved to feel the guilty of abandoning Carlee because that was exactly what I was doing.
"John is an Anthropology model," Ven explained to Korhin. "He was designed to look like Carlee so everyone would think they were siblings." Ven grimaced when he referred to me as "he" instead of "it". He had undoubtedly only done so since he did not want to directly insult the population of the entire planet on which he was a guest.
"Really." Korhin looked at me with interest. "A synthetic hasn't escaped from the Society of Anthropologists in two hundred years. We have been lobbying the Senate about their practices concerning synthetics but we have been mostly ignored." I could sense the calculation behind his gaze. Did he see me as a pawn that could be used in his political mechanisms?
I pushed such a cynical though aside. I would not be a pawn. He would ask me to join, and I probably would. The way the Society treated androids was awful. They essentially murdered them, and it had to be stopped.
"I'll have to speak to your patron about this," Korhin said. "Such a situation with an owner can cause imbalances in a synthetic's emotions." I tended to agree. I would indeed need the therapy he was suggesting.
"Patron?" I asked. "What do you mean?" Korhin opened his mouth to answer, but the vehicle beeped.
"Ah, we've arrived," he said. "Your patron can explain."