Interview with Eimi

This interview was conducted at Café Fantasia in Nerima, Tokyo, where I had arranged to meet Eimi. She arrived a few minutes late, lugging a bag which appeared to be heavy. In the text of the interview, SN stands for Sarah-neko, E stands for Eimi, and Chupa Chups lollipops stand for everything I hold dear. (In my personal iconography, anyway.)

SN: Yoshikawa-san! Over here.

E: Oh, Eimi-chan, please! Do you mind if I put my bag under the table?

SN: Not at all. I ordered tea for two; I hope that's all right.

E: It's fine. What did you want to discuss?

SN: Well, I'm doing a series of interviews with people who've had dealings with Android NK-1124 - say, are you all right?

E: I'm fine, I just had something in my eye.

SN: Uh, yeah. So, Eimi-chan, you obviously didn't get off to too good a start with Nuku Nuku. Do you feel that you're better friends now, after all you've gone through?

E: If you can be friends with someone who has pink fluff for a brain, sure. I've gone off the idea of killing her a bit.

SN: Well, that's wonderful! How about your health? Have you found a solution to your overheating problem?

E: Well, Kyusaku-san's been trying to help me with that. He's made a lot of adjustments but so far he's only been able to minimise the problem, not get rid of it. He says he thinks I'd need a total overhaul for that, and he hasn't got the parts or the facilities.

SN: You get on well with Kyusaku, don't you?

E: Oh, yes! He was like a big brother to me when I was a little girl. Well, a much bigger brother. This is a picture of me, him and Granddad. He never minded me hanging around while he was working, he always answered my questions, he let me be his assistant and fetch tools for him so I felt important. I can't stand his wife but I like Kyusaku a lot.

SN: Do you not think it's possible that Akiko might finance an overhaul for you? It'd be in her interest to make you safer, surely.

E: I don't want any favours from That Woman. She called me a silly little girl.

SN: Can I ask what's in the bag?

E: A magazine-fed rocket launcher. Try not to kick it.

SN: What the hell's that for? I thought you said you didn't want to kill Nuku Nuku any more!

E: I don't. After dinner tonight Arisa and Kyoko and me are going down to MHI's staff firing range for some target practise.

SN: With a rocket launcher.

E: Yes.

SN: Well, who am I to judge? What are your plans for the future, Eimi-chan?

E: Did none of the others tell you? We're all going over to America for a week. Jerry Springer's going to dedicate a whole one-hour special episode to us! They said no weapons, though. So I'm really working on my hair-pulling skills.

SN: Wow, bummer. About the weapons, I mean. It looks like you're on your way to fame and fortune! I guess as one of the first functional androids, you must feel a lot of responsibility to be a good ambassador for your kind. A lot of people are nervous about advances in artificial intelligence.

E: Tell me about it. Did you hear the fuss when that computer beat Garry Kasparov at chess? I'd've beaten him at chess and kicked his arse in the carpark afterwards.

SN: You would, too! Do you think the way androids and robots have been portrayed in science fiction - characters like R2-D2 and C3-PO in Star Wars, Ash in Alien and Bishop in Aliens, Data in Star Trek: TNG - will be a help or a hindrance to you in making your way in the world?

E: Who knows? I don't think I need any help. Although I do think Data's cute. It's a shame he's not real.

SN: Aha, but some people would say that you're not real.

E: Some people could get a rocket launcher up their nose.

SN (flinching): How do you do that with your eyes?

E: Do what?

SN: Uh, never mind. Hey, isn't that Kyoko outside? What's she doing climbing up the side of the building?

E: She's making gestures.

SN: Think we'd better go see?

As we left the café, I reflected that life was never going to be dull around these people. I also reflected that I'd forgotten to pay for the tea, so I ran back to do that and missed seeing Eimi blow up Kyusaku's Valentine's Day present, which had run amuck... you see where honesty gets you.

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