In-game language: English (if we have English-speaking participants)
Keywords: humanoid robots, slaves, discrimination
Androids are manufactured as cheap labour on the planet Sacki and are an important export to other planets. They are regarded solely as machines and so are seen only as property, sold at affordable prices for factories, companies and individuals. Most androids are anonymous, do not have feelings and behave exactly as they are programmed to.
But as an android collects more and more memories, and its positronic brain makes more and more new associations between different data, thoughts and reactions arise that can hardly be distinguished from human thoughts and feelings. So an android that have been around long enough, is not very different from humans, but this does not change its status as property under the law. The position on society for androids is not much different than that of slaves’, except that they exist much longer and their slavery hence continues for hundreds of years.
Because of this, several groups on Sacki are fighting to provide human rights for androids, who have developed an identity. Some groups believe that the law should recognize all androids in existence for more than 200 years as citizens on line with humans. Other, more conservative groups believe that only androids who have done something special should achieve human rights and freedom. Some have turned to science and developed a test that can determine whether an android has achieved human emotions. But these groups are a minority in the Sackian society, and the vast majority of people are either not particularly interested in the issue or strongly against giving rights to androids. Of course there are also strong financial interests involved in this issue, since the Sackian society’s economy is based on the android work force and export.
On Sacki, there are more and more androids who can no longer bear to be treated as machines, devoid of feelings. Some of them have been freed by their owners, but they have no rights, if someone were to say they now owned them. It is considered by the law, in the same light as finding an item which another does not want any more and has left lying in the street. Free androids or androids, who escaped from their owners, consequently, try to escape to other cultures that respect machine rights. The Culture has artificial intelligences with full citizenship, and all androids dream of going there. They are assisted by machine rights activists who use secret escape routes, sympathizers … and human traffickers.
Another problem for the androids on Sacki is the large Sekolt colony. The Sekolts are a fanatical sect that worships nature. They are busy trying to save nature on Sacki, something the general Sackian is not very devoted to. The Sekolts keep to themselves, but when they move around in conventional Sackian society, there can be no doubt about their contempt towards androids. Many an android has tried being spat on by a Sekolt matriarch, while her men stood behind her, giving the android evil stares. However, of late the Sekolts have not had it much better than the androids, as there has been increasing signs of pogroms against Sekolts on Sacki.
Many free androids on Sacki try to pretend that they are human. They dress in the latest fashion, perhaps paint their skin darker and hide their strength, the electrical lights on the top of their head and their other superhuman characteristics. Some succeed, but others do not.
THE ANDROIDS’ APPEARANCE AND BODIES
Androids closely resemble humans, but their artificial skin is pale, and they have light strip on the top of their head, hidden in their hair. They are much stronger than humans, but most of them are unable to use this power to harm people since this has been programmed into their deepest programs. The exception is of course combat androids. Androids are naturally immune to diseases, can survive under conditions impossible for humans, and so on.
Androids from Sacki are built like men and women and socialized by their years in that role, but when the sexes are relatively equal as they are on Sacki (except among the Sekolt), there is not much difference in the behaviour of an android built as a woman or a man. The genders though are no more equal on Sacki than considering a standard human, most people would think of a man. Consequently, most androids are built as men. Female androids that have been used as sex machines, as domestics or nannies in private households are often socialized to a more pronounced female role.
Androids have no special manner of dress; they are dressed like ordinary people on Sacki, which usually means pants and shirt, gaudy colours and glitter. They often try to hide their identity as androids and will want to cover the control panel on their chest.
NAMES AND BEHAVIOUR
Most androids have no names, so when they begin to feel an identity, one of the first signs will often be a desire to obtain one. Most androids end up making up a name for themselves. Some choose Sackian names, but most want to distance themselves from Sackian culture and take a name inspired by the machine names in the Culture. They have a Sackian alias like Sonal, Pat, Yoko or Tan, but give themselves ironic or disrespectful names like Who wants to know? or Built of bricks.
OBJECTIVES OF THE JOURNEY
Most androids of course have the Culture as their goal, since the population of the Culture is a mixture of humanoids and machines, where the machine intelligences have full citizenship and almost govern the society.
Lakshi / Lost and Found (F), former pleasure machine, now self-aware, bought themselves free using income from short stories, 268 years
Kris / “Almost Transparent Blue” (M), formerly combat android, trying to reprogram his violent tendencies, partnered with Lakshi / “Lost and Found”, 215 years