Otto would of course let Summer know, at least in brief, that Alycia dropped by and apologized, and what made it happen - he knows this topic is important to her. But what does she think about Alycia’s reason?
Otto can’t die. The big guy is too tough, too powerful, too cool to die. That’s what Summer thought. What they’d been saying, after they came back from the future, couldn’t have been true.
It feels weird, talking about friends “coming back from the future”. Perhaps no weirder than Leo and Pneuma, boyfriend and girlfriend, sitting in the dark and watching the Data episodes of “Star Trek: the Next Generation”, trying to glean clues about the robot experience. They watched any scifi they could, honestly, anything to do with robots. Science fiction had been anticipating real science for decades - “Doc” Smith’s suggestions for space fleet management had been adopted by the actual Navy, and Arthur C. Clarke had, if not originated, at least contributed to the idea of geostationary communication satellites. Maybe there was something there to learn, perhaps not about the tech, but about the experience.
The lesson Pneuma took away from all of this stuff was that robots have to be human-ish to be acceptable. They can be recognizably human in mannerism, like WALL-E and EVE, or they can strive to achieve some other human-like status, like Bicentennial Man’s Andrew or Star Trek’s Data. But robots who don’t try to fix their robot-ness will be thrown over for a “real” woman, such as in 80’s schlock like “Cherry 2000”, or destroyed for their presumption, like the Replicants in “Blade Runner”.
Summer thinks back to those experiences. Sure, it was all fiction, meant for human consumption - human, she notes in self-reflection, but you are too - but fiction reflects reality in some form, doesn’t it?
She thinks about the future, and Alycia’s change of heart. Otto Newman had to die for the sins of robothood, to redeem poor artificial lifeforms like Summer. It wasn’t an emotional moment, it wasn’t a well-reasoned argument, it wasn’t anything that Summer herself could leverage to persuade other people. It was a spiritual moment, isolated to one person - Alycia.
Summer can’t just take Alycia on tour like a televangelist - “listen to this woman’s amazing story about my dead car friend!” The whole thing feels like a sour joke. It’s not Alycia’s fault - Summer realizes that - but it’s just so god damn frustrating.
I’m back at Square One. Well, kind of. I’m there with one more friend than I had before.
That’ll have to be good enough.
author: Bill G.