The Time Has Come
by Holly Jennings
"These parts aren't mine," I say. This is the third time I repeat myself.
The man behind the desk stares. Blinks. He doesn't understand. On the wall behind him is a sign:
All androids must clear psychiatric evaluation before shipping.
Around me, dozens of my kind are being questioned and waved through to shipping, like cars at a customs border.
"These parts aren't mine," I say again. I point to my breastplate and my pelvic plate. The man looks me over and curls his lip.
"You're a male bot," he protests. "You were given these parts for a reason."
I slam a hand on the desk. "I'm not male."
Across the room, the manager looks up from his desk and lumbers over, breathing heavy.
"What's the problem?"
"Some kind of glitch," the man says, waving me off. "Gotta reprogram."
My programming is fine. My parts are wrong.
The manager sighs.
"Take him back to processing."
Two guards step forward and slap cuffs against my wrists.
"No," I shout. "You're not listening."
They drag me away, through a set of double doors and into the manufacturing plant. The plant is divided in two sections: parts and programming. They direct me to the latter. I open my mouth to protest again, but a stun gun slams against my neck and jolts. My throat plate screams as it scorches black. I don't scream. I can't.
My voice is gone.