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Sean Chaide
by Rick Tornello

A fog of space debris, accumulated over a millennium encased the planet. Entry was tricky and dangerous at best, even for armored craft.  That was all well and good since no one of any consequence ever went there willingly. The home of humanity was now a back water, and worse, it was populated by those who would not give up on the idea of earth as it once was. The rule of law, a basis for all that came after, was still the foundational political principals by which they lived and died. It was this hard headedness that drove the ruler of the solar system into mental knots. The last law that passed, allowing androids with total sentient abilities full citizenship was a step too far.  It would be ending soon enough.

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The Sultan had ordered her to be brought before him. Before her arrival he had raged to anyone within hearing distance. “The Earth is a garbage pit of a planet and this is just one more example of that filth that needs to be exterminated.” The Sultan had declared war upon the planet Earth. “It’s blasphemy against the natural order. Those degenerates just allowed the S7 class and any newer models, all totally sentient and as indistinct from humans… as we… we as natural born humans… could visually tell, full citizenship rights and privileges. They can even interbreed.” He paused, looked about and observed the affect of his words and then continued, “They must be eliminated or a new species will take over the solar system. We will be exterminated!”
 
The beings at court just bowed and murmured their assent. Fear was the driving political force. Earth’s ambassador stood in back of the assembled officials on his assigned spot, illustrating his ranking in importance and impotence, his head bowed. His planet was about to be destroyed by the growing fleet of warships and support craft swarming into the staging areas. The entire solar system’s battle fleet was being assembled. He could do nothing. His aide, standing by his side stood closer than usual. The ambassador sighed. The boy cares about me he felt. But what can he do?  This is madness.
The Sultan continued pointing to the back of the room, “Mr. Ambassador, you dare to make these things citizens and equals and bring one into my court? I should have you thrown from an airlock in deep space.” The Sultan viewed the expression on the ambassador from Earth. The ambassador, old, his eyes and face showed the strain of years of diplomacy, stood erect waiting for the death decree even thought he had been ordered to bring one S7 to court.
 
“But as I am a man of dignity and an observer of my laws, I will not harm you as you have diplomatic immunity. However, as you have noticed I am preparing the invasion fleet. I will end yours and all the apostates on that miserable planet you call home. You will have time to consider your fate. Logistical supplies and armaments take time to arrive and the order of battle coordinated. Your planet is a garbage heap but it does offer you some protection that must be overcome. Why do I tell you all this? Because I want you to observe and report back to your people what you have seen so that they might stave off the invasion and come to their senses, and follow my rule of law!”
 
“Now show the android in.” And to the assembled court he ordered, “Everyone out. Leave me alone with this thing.” 
 
Earth’s Ambassador wanted to drag the S7 out as she walked in. His assistant held him back whispering, “Don’t, you’ll only make things worse. Let us leave and warn the others of what we have seen.”
 
Into the empty throne room the S7 Humanoid stood facing her executioner.  The Sultan, a being whose ignorance was only usurped by his arrogance and sexual appetite, was taken off guard by her beauty. This he never expected. He had to regain mental control. 
 “You have a name, thing?”  
 
She looked straight into his eyes. “Your majesty, I am called by many names. Thing is not one of them. I go by the name of Sean Chaide.” She knew it was a daring move. She had volunteered and her goal was to save or put off for as long as possible any invasion of her home.
 
The Sultan declared, “After this meeting you will be terminated. You are aware of that. You are not to be allowed to live. You are not human.”
 
“I am sentient, I can procreate…”
 
“You are dangerous. But before I carry out the task of ridding your home of the fools and apostates who created you, I would like to display the tools by which I will make this happen.”
 
“If you mean your war machine, I have heard much of it. Yes, please do. I am intrigued, not so much of the how but why you feel you must do this.”
 
“I am gathering the forces from all over the system. This will be a holy war against the infidel, Earth…” He hesitated not knowing why and then said, “I think a better execution is forcing you to witness the planets destruction before I terminate you. Yes, that is a fitting punishment.”
 
“As you wish.” She was calm and seeming unmoved by his threats.
 
Her demeanor confused him. Normally those subject to death would be at his feet begging for life. She on the other hand seemed not to care. “You are rather calm considering your situation,” he said.
 
“What am I supposed to do?  I knew this was a possibility. I volunteered to meet you. I, we supposed that I might be able to understand your motives and…” She touched his arm.
 
He quickly pulled away in disgust. “Change my mind.” He laughed. “Fools, you are all fools.”
 
“Maybe so but aren’t we all based from the same stock. Isn’t Earth the home, the springboard from which all this arose?”
 
“Once it could be said so, but now? Now your planet is an orbiting ruin. The one thing that protects you is the garbage surrounding your planet as armor. And the fact, that until your creation, I was willing to ignore your pitiful orb. But you and those like you are an abomination that must be destroyed.”
 
“Why are you so fearful of us? We are not war like, though we will defend ourselves to the death. You must be aware of that?”
 
“What pitiful resistance can you muster again my armada?”
 
She didn’t answer.
 
“You see, I will prevail,” he said with all the authority he could muster in his voice because when he looked at her and stared there was something about her he couldn’t quite figure out. His contemplation was interrupted …
 
“Your majesty, might I offer a respite in this verbal sparing, and as a condemned prisoner, ask for a last meal?”
 
“I said I would keep you alive until after the destruction of your home.”
 
“Yes you did. Might I suggest that we put that aside for a bit?”
 
She had moved closer to him. He knew she was unarmed. He stood his ground. Sean was exactly his height. She looked directly at him. “Let me suggest a little something else then. I know you’re one for the best foods and I, like yourself, suffer from the desire to have a taste of the best before I die.”
 
He smiled at the thought. “Go on.”
 
“What say you that we both choose a recipe, the best of whatever we may have had in the past? You have the best chefs in the world. What say you that we choose, and present each other with that?”
 
No one had ever approached him with a challenge or contest such as this, and on her deathbed no less. He had nothing to loose. He waited a few seconds, impulse was always his manner and answered, “Yes, we will do that. What do you have in mind?”
 
“Oh no. You misunderstand. It will be a secret, a surprise. Mine will be for you and yours for me.”
 
He looked at her even more amazed. “What if your choice is beyond all I have ever consumed, what then?”
 
Sean answered, “If it is not, I will terminate myself right there and then. But if it is beyond anything you have ever had, I will tell you how it was made, where the ingredients originated, the proper wines to mix, and then we do it again. What say you to that?”
 
“You’re serious?” He asked incredulously.
 
“I do not kid around with my life.”
 
“I agree,” He said with great satisfaction.
 
She nodded and then asked, “Where is your kitchen? I will begin.”
 
She fed him dinner that night. She listened to his tirades that grew softer as the night progressed. She spoke to him as if she knew him for years. She explained the history of her food selection. He listened as he sipped the wine.
 
He looked at her. He smiled and said. “I didn’t expect this. Surprise me again tomorrow with another food story like this.”
 
“What of your surprise for me? It is your turn,” she said in a slightly demanding tone.
 
“After tomorrows dinner then I will have one for you, he said.  But he couldn’t take his eye off her and the food cut to his soul. He wanted more and would have it. He was the Sultan and his wish was his command. The invasion could wait a few days or more as supplies arrived. There was no rush. And this was altogether something new.
 
She had touched him in more ways than one, with her bravery, her beauty and his DNA. By that initial touch alone the secrets of his being were laid bare. She knew now what he was made of, what combinations of food chemicals would satisfy him. With this knowledge she would always be at least one step ahead. “As you wish,” she said demurely. “Will you want it ready at the same time?”


By Rick Tornello 2014, revised 2020
& The Village idiot Press