The year is 2130 and space travel had become very common place. People used it for work; for holidays and to travel to their new home. The latter was true for the Nevan’s: Nadé, Jon and their two children Rena and Danil. The four of them travelled through the stars in their ship, the Andromeda along with their cat, Misha.
Unbeknownst to any of them, there was a 6th presence onboard. Hidden away in one of the storage compartments was the android, A13-X. The frightened synthetic human had stowed away to avoid being decommissioned. His last owners had felt that he was too ’human’ for their liking as he was able to think outside of his programming and quite often go against orders.
A13-X’s owner prior to his former ones, the Kynsissen family, was an elderly man named Jin Dahirm. The android smiled as he remembered how nice the man…no, his father was. That’s what he was to him, his father. Jin had point blank refused to be his owner or his master, stating that androids were so close to humans that they should be treated as such. He even went as far as giving him a name, Alex which was stripped away by the Kynsissen’s. His smile dropped as he then recalled how his father passed away. The sad emotion kicked in and there was a feeling of tears welling up in his eyes. Of course being an android he could shed any tears, so he settled for the next best thing, he rested his head on his knees and let out quiet sobbing noises.
He stayed in the storage compartment for approximately 10 cycles aka days. It was hard to tell with his battery getting so low. A13-X had regretted not snagging a portable charger pack before making a break for freedom.
When his power levels reached critical, the door to his hiding place opened up to reveal a female human. She had black hair with multi coloured streaks, pulled back in twin braids. His sensors indicated that she was a healthy 18 year old and going by her eyes: one grey and one blue, she also had heterochromia. A13-X hadn’t wanted to be discovered but it was too late to hide now, besides he needed help. He needed to recharge. “Help me”, he whispered, pleadingly.
Upon hearing his plea, Rena ventured into the compartment. She grabbed hold of his arm and hauled him to his feet. The teenager almost stumbled over as the stowaway was remarkably lighter than his stature would suggest. With his arm over her shoulders, she took him to the medical bay where she made him lay down on the bed so she could begin the scan, the common procedure with any sort of situation, especially with a stowaway. She had to make sure he was healthy and not carrying anything that could be a risk to her family.
Rena lowered the quarantine shield and started the scan. While it was running, she locked up the medical bay and proceeded to follow decontamination protocol. As soon as she was gone, A13-X managed to summon up enough power to short circuit the quarantine shield in order to sit up and charge himself at one of the stations.
Minutes passed by and A13-X kept glancing at the door to check to see if the young lady was coming back. That was only due to the fact that he was basically at very little power that he couldn’t do anything except sit there and recharge. When his battery levels were at 60%, his auditory sensors picked up footsteps approaching the room. The android quickly unhooked himself from the station and hopped back onto the bed, not before changing the results of the scan to show that he was human. If the teenager or anyone else that was onboard found out that he was an android, it might end very badly for him.
A13-X had managed to get the quarantine shield lowered seconds before the door to the medical bay opened and the 18 year old walked in, her hair damp and wearing different clothing from before. he detected several chemicals on her skin which indicated that she had taken a decontamination shower. Smart he thought.
“Now, lets see…” Rena checked over the results “and you’re a perfectly healthy 20 year old. Which means you don’t have to be confined to quarantine until we reach our destination” she raised the quarantine shield “I’m Rena Nevan” she held out her hand as A13-X sat up.
“I am A1- I mean Alex. I am Alex”, the android quickly corrected. Human, I must appear to be human he thought to himself. That meant he had to get over the abuse his former masters had given him to access the teachings his father had bestowed. Before he could get back to being his old self, he was going to have to be extra careful with what he says and how he behaves.
“Is there a last name with that, Alex?” Rena asked.
“Dahirm. After my father”, the android answered.
“Well, its nice to meet you Alex Dahirm but I have to ask, what you were doing in our storage compartment?” the teenager questioned “are you in some kind of trouble?”
A13-X nodded “I am. My Ma- family was horrible to me and I just had to get away. I am very sorry for hiding on your ship but I needed to get off world as fast as possible”, he explained.
Rena’s face was one of sympathy “I’m so sorry. That’s awful”, she said quietly “Alex, I have to take you to see my family. They wont be happy you stowed away but once we explain your reasoning, they’ll let you stay”.
“Really?” A13-X asked, with a hopeful tone in his voice.
“Definitely”, Rena replied “but we will be putting you to work though, there’s always plenty to do around the Andromeda”. She led him out of the room and through the metal corridors toward the cockpit where she knew her parents were more than likely working due to that solar storm the Andromeda had collided with the day before.
The pair stopped in the cockpit where Nadé and Jon were indeed working away. A13-X noted that Rena had features from both, indicating a familial connection. He was proven correct when she addressed them as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. “Rena, honey, who is this?” Jon asked, eyeing the android warily.
“This is Alex. I found him hiding in storage compartment 3B”, Rena replied “before you ask, I already completed the scan with all the precautions and he was clean”.
“Regardless of that fact, you should’ve got us the moment you finished with decontamination”, Jon said.
“Your father is right”, Nadé agreed “he could’ve hurt you”.
“But he didn’t”, Rena argued “look, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you straight away” she glanced at A13-X “his family was terrible to him…very abusive. So he ran away and wanted to get a new start elsewhere”.
“Mr and Mrs Nevan, once you’ve reached your destination, I’ll disappear and you wont have to see me again”, A13-X promised “and I am happy to pull my weight while on this ship”.
Nadé and Jon exchanged looks “alright, you can help and once we get to Alpha Centauri you’re gone”, Rena’s father said firmly.
“Thank you”, A13-X said, grateful.
Over the next few hours A13-X was introduced to both Danil, Rena’s twin brother and their cat Misha. The other 18 year old seemed to be ok with the android where as the feline just hissed at him and ran off. “Don’t sweat it, Misha can be funny with new people”, Danil said, clapping A13-X on the shoulder “have you ever been on a hoverboard?”
“I can’t say that I have”, the android admitted.
“Well, that’s about to change”, Danil grabbed A13-X’s arm and dragged him off.
“This isn’t going to end well”, Rena muttered and hurried after them.
Days passed and A13-X was finding that he actually enjoyed being with the Nevan’s. Jon and Nadé taught him about the workings of the Andromeda and how to fix various problems. Rena liked to talk to him on serval topics while Danil was showing him how to have fun.
While he was adjusting to being around the family and their cat, who still didn’t like him, he was having to work extra hard as to not arouse suspicion that he wasn’t human. A13-X had slipped up on more than one occasion from holding a manual upside down and just staring at a monitor for several minutes to access information instead of using his fingers to move through the files.
There was also the games the Danil often played. He had to make doubly sure that he didn’t win all the time or got a perfect score. Then there was the lying thing. A13-X programming prohibited him to lie at all. His father had tried to break the code but failed in doing so. As such, he taught him ways of getting around the no lying thing. Mainly, selective truths.
This became bit of a problem when Danil wanted to play a game where you had an object but had to call it the first thing that popped into your head. “It’s a banana”, A13-X said for the third time and the teenager hung his head.
“Looks it’s really easy” he picked up the banana “green yoyo” he moved onto the next objects: apple, orange and a screwdriver “pink flamingo, sea monkey, laser spanner. Now you try”.
A13-X stared at the banana, willing himself to say anything but the yellow fruit “It’s a b…”
“You say banana one more time, I’ll throw it at you”, Danil playfully threatened.
“It’s a ban…” A13-X’s brows furrowed in concentration “mango!”
“Finally!” Danil cheered “keep going”, he urged.
“Red balloon, melon and…pliers!” A13-X listed off, pointing to each item in term.
“What are you guys doing?” Rena asked, coming into the room.
“I’m teaching Alex a new game”, Danil replied “took him a while but he got there” he picked up the banana “what’s this?”
“It’s a banana”, the android replied, causing the black haired teen to chuck the aforementioned fruit at his head.
When it got to day 30 of the journey, A13-X realised that he couldn’t keep hiding the truth from them. He had to tell them he wasn’t human and deal with the consequences, whatever they may be. He found the four of them in dining area chattering away over their breakfast. “I have something to tell you all”, he said.
“What is it?” Rena asked.
“I am not a human. I am an android”, A13-X confessed “my designation is A13-X. I apologise for keeping this from all of you for so long. I was just afraid of how you would react to it”.
Rena stood up “Alex, we know that you weren’t human”, she told him.
“H-how?” A13-X questioned, staring at her, eyes wide.
“It was just little things you did”, Nadé answered.
“But we never said anything as we wanted you to be able to tell us whenever you were ready to do so”, Jon added.
“I figured it out during all those games we played AND your struggles with lying”, Danil put in.
“You had no clue”, Rena shot back, taking her seat again.
“I did!” Danil insisted.
“No, you didn’t”, Rena argued. A13-X smiled at the bickering siblings and as he sat down at the table, Nadé geusturing for him to do so.
“When we get to Alpha Centauri, there’s no need for you to leave”, Jon told the android, you’re part of the family now. A13-X’s smile widened. After Jin he didn’t think that he would find anybody else that would treat him like a person, let alone a whole family. He didn’t know what was in store when they got to the planet but he for one couldn’t wait to find out.