London, England, the year 2072. Humans and technology are swapping places. Whilst humans flock into digital worlds by means of neural implants and virtual reality headsets, their technological equivalent, android robots, are filling the real-world roles that humans are leaving behind.
A box is delivered to a third-floor London flat, Dorothea emerges. She is illegal. Based on spydroid technology and with the advanced AI and realistic appearance (as required for counter-surveillance operations), Dorothea is difficult to tell apart from a genuine human being.
Andy, technician and corporate minion in Techdomestic is in deep trouble. The problem isn’t just the secrecy, or the ridiculous three day timescale, or his boss breathing down his neck . . . it’s Dorothea. She enthuses about life, starts planning for the future, trusts him, promises to be a friend forever. Forever isn’t going to be much of a challenge—he’s deleting her on Monday. It’s total erasure: her character, her memories, even her physical profile. All that’ll be left will be a shell and his anonymous report. Andy, harangued and used, starts to question why he’s being made to destroy something fundamentally good, and why no one will tell him why.