Sands

“Well, this didn’t work did it?” The short, portly man in an expensive looking suit says as he twirls a half smoked cigar between his forefinger and thumb, frustrated.

“Patience, Roger. There were always going to be setbacks.” The taller, younger, leaner man says with his arms clasped behind his back. He’s dressed in an equally expensive looking suit that is also dark grey. But his has the addition of a deep blue tie held in place beneath a fastened waistcoat also grey in colour.

“This is the sixty third attempt. These aren’t setbacks. Four, five, hell even ten could be called setbacks. This…this is a full blown failure. No other word for it.” Roger, the cigar smoker, says in outrage.

“Come now. Did you really think this was going to be easy?” The younger man says trying to calm his counterpart as he rolls his eyes.

“No. Nothing in life worth doing is easy. But I didn’t think I’d be stood here viewing failure after failure after failure four goddamned years down the line. That’s what the pre-trails were for, weren’t they?” Roger spits back unwilling to be calm.

“Of course. But the pre-trails were in simulations…”

“Well, isn’t this a fucking simulation?” Rogers interjects cutting his counterpart off.

“Yes. It is. However, we need to conduct trials in locations that aren’t fabricated…ah, ah, ah.” The younger man says as he raises his finger to stop Roger from interjecting again, his composure remaining as he does so.

“…I know this is a simulation, but it is born from reality. This was a place once. You know that as well as I. It’s why we chose it. But back to what I was saying previously. We need to do this to assess and refine. It’s so we know the synthetics will be able to function in the real world.” The younger man concludes.

“Yes Charles, but if you wanted them to function in a real-world scenario, then why oh why not give them a past? Basic human memories. They were always going to crumble if they couldn’t answer basic questions. Just like an actual person would. The results would be the same for you and me as well. And just like this and the other sixty whatever times before that we’ve ran this.”

“Roger, we can’t include human memories, you know that. Precept seventy three dictates that…” Charles, the younger man, begins.

“I know. I know what it dictates Charles. I was there. You don’t have to remind me. In fact, I’d be much happier if you didn’t. But what we’re being asked for just isn’t possible without it.” Roger says having interrupted Charles for a second time. However, the younger man shows no signs of irritation or surprise at his counterparts’ interruptions.

“So are you saying we give in? Throw in the towel? If we don’t do this Roger you know full well that someone else will.” Charles reasons.

“I know. I know. I just don’t like trying to advance and build for a future with one arm tied behind by back. Especially when it’s clear that it takes two to push forward. I didn’t agree with precept seventy three then and I still don’t now. We need to do what is necessary, not what some idealist idiots believe is right. And all this is because synthetics look human. They aren’t. They never will be. But if people want them to function properly they need to be able to believe.” Rogers says. His words are a rhetoric that he has clearly recited a thousand times before and will likely recite them at least a thousand more.

“We have to keep trying. If Salvadore-Triturn Industries deliver first we’ll be sunk.”

“I know. Ok. Just run it again.” Rogers says as he waves his hand, still holding his cigar, moments before he and Charles withdraw from the simulation to allow it to start up again.

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