Summary: Chapter 13

Still hoping for a dinner with Pris, Isidore appears at her door with some expensive delicacies. Pris is not much interested in the food, but she is ready for some company and mildly impressed by Isidore’s newly confident demeanor. She invites him in and begins to talk, in rambling fashion, about her situation. She is one of eight friends who returned from Mars after finding life there unbearable, but by now some of the others have no doubt been killed by bounty hunters. 
Isidore does not understand that bounty hunters hunt androids and therefore doesn’t grasp that Pris is an android. He finds her story hard to believe, partly because Mercerian ethics forbids all killing. Still, he offers to protect her. She flirts with him, tries the food, and cries. She speaks wistfully of old stories, before the age of actual space travel, in which life on other worlds was an adventure. Suddenly there is a knock. The two other surviving androids, Roy and Irmgard Baty, have showed up.

Summary: Chapter 14

Roy, the androids’ leader, confirms that the others are all dead. Learning that Isidore is friendly and a special, he proposes that Pris move in with Isidore and leave her place to Roy and Irmgard. Roy wires up an alarm to warn either apartment’s occupants of an intruder in the other. Meanwhile, Isidore has noticed the three androids’ strangely abstract way of talking and thinking. He finally realizes they are androids. Now the story about their being hunted makes more sense. However, Isidore still does not understand that the androids killed their masters to escape Mars. He declares his admiration for their intelligence. Irmgard, in turn, appreciatively notes his solidarity with them. He is a member of one despised class, looking out for members of another despised class. Still, now that Isidore knows the other three to be androids, they must vote on what to do with him.

Analysis: Chapters 13–14

In this section, the point of view of the renegade androids is finally unveiled, although much is lost on J.R. Isidore. Pris, having accepted Isidore into her confidence, describes the plight of her and her friends, but decisively excludes their status as escaped androids. Isidore, in a sense, forces himself to believe the lie, still craving companionship more than anything. The reductive metaphor of Mercer’s plight on the mountainside helps Isidore make sense of the situation. In his mind, Isidore sees Pris as Mercer, and that he must protect her from “the killers,” even though the law of the Earth and humanity, both of which he cherishes, demand her destruction. As Isidore and Pris connect over their shared exclusion from society, Pris talks about “pre-colonial fiction” as a commodity on the colony worlds, likely a comic reference to the author’s own work somehow surviving a coming apocalypse. Pris loves the pre-war fiction, full of action and adventure, especially in its contrast to her own experience in space as a slave to human masters.

J.R. Isidore gains more companions to ease his intense loneliness when Roy and Irmgard Baty arrive, again showing the need for companionship as a running motif. Roy Baty is emblematic of the “problem” with androids: they have a lack of empathy for any other beings, even other androids. However, Irmgard saves Isidore from Roy’s brutality. Her understanding of humanity surpasses that of her partner Roy, and she quickly reinforces and validates the need for solidarity at the fringes of society in a cruel and exclusionary world. Alone again with Pris, J.R. finally understands that his new friends are androids. His strong faith in Mercerism wavers, since the religion excludes androids from the mercy provided to living things. Despite going against his core beliefs, Isidore sides with the androids. He seems to realize, in his own fashion, that an android is no less miraculous a form of life than himself, a human being, and that society has already betrayed his belief in mercy by denying his own humanity and labeling him a “special.” Isidore expresses a willingness to help his new friends, who have likewise been oppressed.