Dr. George Millican was once a brilliant scientist – a mechanical engineer on the original Synth project. Since his wife Mary died, George has retreated from the world, save for his out of date Synth companion Odi. George treats this particular Synth more like a son than a piece of machinery, due to Odi’s recall of George’s happiest memories. Unfortunately, however, the aging Odi’s body and mind have been failing, not unlike George’s…
State-issued care model Synths are customarily upgraded on two-year cycles. At six years old, Odi is obsolete, decrepit and on the verge of total system failure. He needs to be scrapped. But his owner, Dr. George Millican, can’t let him go. He and his late wife got Odi when they were both recovering from illness – George recovered, his wife didn’t. Now Odi – whose multiple faults make him a safety risk, but also give him an eccentric charm – is all George has left of his wife. Odi can’t return George’s feelings – he can barely make a slice of toast – but the lonely widower can’t let this repository of valuable memories go. No matter how leaky.
Vera is a Vidman VA-262 Synthetic, specifically designed as a live-in care model for elderly people. Such was the success of the Vera model, the British government has ordered nearly 500,000 Vera units for use in the UK – freeing vast amounts of care home spaces and hospital beds as the Veras take care of senior citizens in their own homes. Assigned to Dr. George Millican as a compulsory upgrade, Vera’s stern, domineering presence in his home – very different to George’s previous model, Odi – leads George to question whether the machines are serving us, or vice versa. Are we giving away too much of our freedom, independence and dignity to the likes of Vera? Where will that lead us?
(Dr. Millican: William Hurt; Odi: Will Tudor; Vera: Rebecca Front)