Free will and empathy

The Mechanical - Ian Tregillis

Jax, a mechanical man, has been Awakened, freed fom the geas which kept him enslaved to his human creators. Now, in fear of his life and on the run, he has encountered a Leviathan, likewise enslaved.  


But Jax now carries the secret to release the mechanicals from their slavery, and he uses it on the leviathan in order to help in his escape from his pursuers.  The leviathan rejoices in his Awakening, and heads north, but not fast enough.  


At dawn, their flight is interrupted by cannonfire, and Leviathan is burning.


"You woke me," cried the dying airship, "and now they send me to sleep. So soon! So soon!" It rolled and heaved, bucked and swayed, and fought for altitude.  


"Don't thrash, it's fanning the fires!" said Jax.  And then he added, "Relax, I'm quenching them."


Apparently Rogues lied, too. Freedom of will meant the freedom to tell a comforting lie. The freedom to show compassion in the light of deadly disaster.


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