OF ANDROS AND GYNOS

Andro A24 stood outside Gyno G18’s chamber, waiting to be acknowledged. His sensors told him that his surroundings had something that they could not identify. This, combined with the fact that environmental impurities, especially unidentifiable ones, have a sixty-one percent chance of being dangerous, made A24’s processor tell him that he should be in a risk-free environment within the next five minutes.

Due to the nature of A24’s situation, he did something highly unorthodox: he raised his right arm and knocked thrice on G18’s door.

G18 looked up, saw A24, and pressed a button on her table.

The door slid open, and A24 stepped inside saying “I am Andro A24, a learning member of The Development Society, and I have been assigned to you in order to assist you in your current task. I had to knock and enter because the environment outside was hostile.”

G18 replied, “Are you aware, A24, that my current task is to collect data related to the Virus?”

“Yes, G18.”

“Are you aware that this task is highly dangerous and has been given A-Grade Priority?”

“Yes.”

“Can you tell me why, A24?”

“The Virus is a destructive particle that causes Andros and Gynos to become defunct. It spreads through the environment and so far, it has made one hundred and twenty Andros and ninety seven Gynos defunct. This has caused our Daily Production Rate to drop by three percent.”

G18 looked for errors in A24’s reply; she did not find any, and hence, she said “That is correct, A24.” She then pressed a button which caused an instrument panel to slide out of her desk. From the instrument panel, she selected two screwdrivers and a small flashlight.

She threw one screwdriver at A24, who caught it. “Have you ever seen a defunct Andro?” she asked him.

“I have seen four defunct Andros and one defunct Gyno.” He replied.

“Have you ever seen an Andro becoming defunct?”

“No.”

“Follow me.” G18 led A24 through a door in the left wall of her chamber. This door opened into a smaller chamber.

In the center, an Andro lay on an Aluminium table which was wider than him. The chamber was illuminated by two fluorescent lamps, one at each end of the ceiling. A black briefcase was placed on the floor near the table.

A24 and G18 entered the room and stood opposite each other, on opposite sides of the infected Andro.

The infected Andro’s secondary protective covering had been removed, revealing his primary protective covering which was made of stainless steel. His hands were on the upper part of his torso, and his fingers were moving upward every six seconds.

The infected Andro turned its head to face A24 and said “I am Andro A100101010101011100101010101, deveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”

“Do you see any signs of damage, A24?” G18 asked.

“eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”the infected Andro went on.

“No.”, A24 replied “Victims of the Virus usually don’t have any.”

“eeeeeeeee…”

“Correct.”

“eeeeeeeeee…”

Then the infected Andro stopped speaking, and his fingers stopped their periodic upward motion.

“He is now defunct.” G18 declared. “A24, remove the victim’s primary protective covering using your screwdriver.”

A24 and G18 detached the primary protective covering from the defunct Andro’s torso, hands and legs, leaving his head covered. His internal structure was now visible.

His main pump was still working; pumping a grey fluid called phyewl into various transparent fibrous tubes.

“Incinerator is in perfect condition.” G18 noted, stroking the lower part of the defunct Andro’s torso.

“So is his main pump, and every other part of his body.” A24 said “His pumping rate, however, is below normal.”

“That is normal.” G18 said, examining an empty phyewl reservoir on the lower left side of his torso. “Now, observe him.”

The defunct Andro’s pumping rate decreased steadily as time progressed. Then suddenly, the main pump began pumping phyewl at a rate that was twenty times the normal rate. A few seconds later, it stopped functioning.

“Our work here is done.” G18 said “Take that briefcase and follow me.”

G18 led A24 out of the building, and into a residential area. Several Andros and Gynos were walking around, performing their tasks. G18 and A24 walked side by side.

“Choose a Gyno, A24.” G18 said, “Any Gyno.”

“I do not see how what you are asking me to do is related to your task, G18.”

“I assure you, A24, it is.”

“There is a Gyno two metres in front of us and to our left. Her secondary protective covering is black in colour and she is walking in the same direction as we are.”

“Let us follow her.” G18 said “We must not be seen by her.”

G18 and A24 followed her through various roads and alleys until she finally reached her house.

The house was a perfect cube, like all others.

“Interesting,” G18 said “Her house is twice as large as the average Gyno’s house.”

The Gyno they had been following entered her house and immediately closed the door.

“We have to get to a properly ventilated area in six minutes.” A24 said “This environment is dangerous.”

“Come with me, then.”

G18 went up to the other Gyno’s house and knocked thrice on her door.

The door slid open.

A24 and G18 entered the house. The first thing they noticed was that it had three chambers instead of one.

The Gyno they had followed was sitting on a desk placed in front of them. She was using a handheld computer for some purpose.

She looked up. “I am G36, working member of the Manufacturing Society. Please introduce yourselves and state your purposes.” She said.

`G18 replied, “I am G18, and he is A24. We are members of the Development Society. We are here to collect data on the Virus. Please co-operate with us.”

G36 placed her handheld computer her desk.

G18 continued, “Why does your house have three chambers, instead of one?”

At that moment, an Andro and a miniAndro entered the chamber.

“This is highly unusual.” G18 said.

“Introduce yourselves.” A24 said.

The Andro spoke first “I am A37, working member of the Manufacturing Society.”

The miniAndro said “I am A167.”

“A167, come here.” G18 said.

A167 walked towards her.

“A24, open that briefcase, you will a long narrow tube, bent inward near its tip, with a wide, metallic and cylindrical handle. Give it to me.”

A24 opened the briefcase. An assortment of metallic instruments and a coil of reinforced binding fibre had been kept inside. A24 found the object that matched G18’s description and handed it to her.

“That miniLASER is a very dangerous object. I will not allow you to use it inside my house.” A37 began walking towards G18.

G18 grabbed A167 around his upper torso and pointed the miniLASER’s tip at his optic sensors. Her thumb was above the activator button, but had not pressed it yet. “I will press the activator if you continue walking.” She said.

A37 did not stop.

G18’s thumb was now touching the activator.

“Stop walking, A37.” G36 said.

A37 stopped walking.

G18’s thumb relaxed. “Bind them, A24.” She said, “But allow them to speak.” Them, she turned to G36 “Your emergency beacons will not work, I have a radio-wave interceptor with me.”

A24 bound their hands and feet using the reinforced binding fibre, but left their mouths free.

G18 released A167 and told A24 to bind him as well.

A24 obeyed her.

All three of them were now bound and sitting beside each other on three chairs.

“I do not think the Main Society will approve of what we are doing, G18.” A24 said.

“The Main Society will not know.” G18 replied, “G36, tell me why you live with an Andro, instead of living alone.”

G36 replied “The production rate has decreased, and hence, the Main Society has decreased our rations. By living with an Andro, and sharing our rations, I can ensure that both of us receive more rations than usual.”

“You could have accomplished that using a Gyno. Why did you choose an Andro?” A24 asked her.

“Andros are more damage resistant than Gynos.”

“Why did you choose this particular Andro?”

“We have similar tasks.”

“Did you assemble A167, or did you steal him from the factory?” G18 demanded.

“We assembled him, using parts that we stole from the factory.”

“Why?”

“We needed an Andro to take care of our house while we were away, and to continue our tasks if we became defunct.”

“Shall I unbind them, G18?” A24 asked.

“Our task isn’t complete, A24.” G18 replied.

“What do you hope to achieve by keeping them bound, G18?”

“Do you know why we cannot repair an Andro or a Gyno who has been infected by the Virus, A24?” G18 asked.

“The concept of an Andro or Gyno becoming defunct is new to us, and we don’t know which part of the body the Virus attacks, because none of them show any signs of damage.” A24 replied

“That is correct. Now, there is a simple method that we can use to find out.”

A24 did not say anything.

G18 continued, “We could remove each part of an Andro’s body and see if he becomes defunct.”

A24 remained silent.

G18 continued, “It is clear that removing an arm, leg, or incinerator will not make an Andro defunct. Using a similar line of reasoning, we can eliminate all parts except the main pump, the vocal diaphragm, and the processor. Do you understand why, A24?”

“We do not manufacture these parts, they are manufactured by another faction of Andros and Gynos, and hence we do not understand their working.”

“Exactly. We observed the behaviour of an infected, nearly defunct Andro in my chamber. We have three subjects with us. We are going to damage exactly one of the three aforementioned parts in each of our three subjects and observe what happens.”

G36 said “No. This is not possible. How can a Gyno make another Gyno or Andro defunct? It has never happened before.”

“For centuries, we thought that Andros and Gynos couldn’t become defunct. Now, we know that they can.” G24 said.

A24 started speaking “G18, the Main-“

“The Main Society has given my task A-Grade priority.”

“Your task is to collect data about the Virus and use it to prevent us from becoming defunct. Making them defunct would defeat your purpose.”

“By making those three defunct, I will be able to save a large majority of our population. Stop speaking.”

A24 obeyed.

G18 continued “Chance has favoured us today. I thought I would have to break into three different houses, but G36 has rendered that unnecessary. I thank you, G36.” She took out a roll of adhesive tape from  a pocket in her secondary protective covering and threw it to A24. “Tape their mouths.”

A24 taped their mouths using a combination of reinforced binding fibre and adhesive tape.

“Now, observe carefully.” G18 said, walking towards A37. She pushed the desk aside and placed the tip of her miniLASER a few inches in front of the upper left quadrant of his torso, which enclosed the main pump.

G18 pressed the activator button. A fine beam of monochromatic light, red in colour, shot out of the tip. A tiny, circular patch of stainless steel on A37’s torso began to melt. “A24, allow A37 to speak.” She said.

A24 removed the tape from A37’s mouth and went back.

A cylindrical tunnel had been carved into A37’s main pump. G18 stopped pressing the activator. A grey fluid shot out of the hole in A37’s torso. Phyewl.

A37’s voice was soft, barely a whisper “The Main Society won’t like this. You are not a Gyno, G18. That is the only logical conclusion I can come to after witnessing your actions.” Phyewl was flowing out of A37’s torso and his voice was growing softer with each passing second till it became inaudible. Then, after a few minutes, his mouth stopped moving, and the last drop of phyewl oozed out of the hole.

A167 and G36 watched, unable to do anything.

G18 moved towards A167 and pushed his head back. “In the briefcase you will find a short, thin and pointed rod.” She said to A24 “Bring it here.”

A24 searched the briefcase, found the object she asked for and carried it to where G18 was standing.

“Push it inside A167’s throat when I ask you to.” She said and pointed the miniLASER at A167’s throat.

G18 pressed the activator, and again, the stainless steel started melting. “Now.” G18 said, and stopped pressing the activator.

A24 stabbed A167’s throat.

“POP!” the vocal diaphragm burst.

A24 looked at G18, who nodded “Allow A167 to speak.” She said.

A24 removed the binding fibre from A167’s mouth and told him to speak.

A167 opened his mouth and kept it open, his head facing the ceiling.

G18 walked towards him and removed the rod from his throat.

“TSSSSSSSSSSS!” A foamy gas escaped from the hole in A167’s throat.

“Speak!” G18 ordered him.

A167 did nothing. Phyewl shot upwards from the hole in his throat, and, in a parabolic arc, fell to the ground.

G18 walked toward G36 and placed the tip of the miniLASER on her head. She pressed the activator and, at the same time, pushed the miniLASER into G36’s head until one third of it had gone inside. She then removed the binding fibre on her mouth and ordered her to speak.

G36 said nothing.

“Maybe we should go to another house, disable two of those three parts and see what happens.” G18 told A24.

“The MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…” G36 said, suddenly. Her head was moving from side to side.

“The Virus attacks the processor.” A24 said.

“MMMMMMM…”

“That is correct.” G18 said.

Silence.

G36’s head was now resting on her right shoulder.

“Interesting.” The mathematician said, looking at the Holo-Cube “They have begun to feel.”

Inside the Holo-Cube, one Andro and one Gyno stood, stationary.

The mathematician turned to look at the two physicists, sitting beside each other. “Pay up!” he said, the corners of his mouth twitching “I have disproved your hypothesis!”

“They only started killing each other because you introduced that virus into their environment.” One physicist argued.

“Your hypothesis stated that an emotionless species was incapable of murder; emotionless, not immortal!” The mathematician countered.

The other physicist, a woman, went up to the Holo-Cube. “Are you sure this sim is accurate?” She asked, twisting a knob. The brightness of its interior decreased.

“Of course it’s accurate, Jayteen! Ask your friends in the Anthropology department if you don’t believe me.” The mathematician said, taking out his wallet. “Now, pay up!”

Jayteen and the other physicist took out a few notes of cash from their pockets and held them out to the mathematician, who grabbed them, and stuffed them into his wallet .

“Now! My tummy tells me that it needs some Pi. Get it?”

“Someone give this guy a Nobel prize, please. Oh, wait, there is no Nobel prize for Math.”

“Jokes aside, I am starving. Come, let’s get something to eat. Jayteen?” The mathematician and physicist left the room.

Jayteen was staring at the Holo-Cube “Yeah.” She switched the Holo-Cube off and followed them out of the room.

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