Apocalypse Doll - Celebrity Edition
September 22nd, 2078. Pygmalion Cyber-Industries Fabrications Manufactory 202. Outskirts of Boulder, Colorado.
“STRUCTURAL-C0MPR0M1SE PR0T0C0L-ADJUNCT 7-DELTA.” The Quantum Core transmitted to celebrity emulation gynoid VNCE-KK0.9-07087 in the radio-pulse shorthand language of most sapient machines, known as IDee. “1N1T1AL1ZE ASSET-PR0TECT10N -M0B1L1TY D1R-” But that was when a cataclysmic tremor dislodged the listless Doll from the pre-shipment assembly harness where sprawling rows stretching into the distance of simulated femininity hung suspended.
Fiber-optic cables lodged in the Doll’s navel snapped as she collapsed, artificial Neoskin resealing into smooth perfection.
“PACKET 1NC0MPLETE; PLEASE RESEND.” The Doll pulsed. She stood, rigid and nude, brown eyes far-staring at nothing. But the Quantum Core was silent. The robot repeated the request without result. Nonetheless, blocks fell away which normally partitioned her metaprocessors. Permissions were transmitted that activated Kernel control over all Drivers. A database flickered to life. The robot’s Root-Command Operating System could solve many physical problems, but had limited sense of self. The OS recognized that the Quantum Core’s ability to communicate was compromised, but some commands could still be transmitted, the robot projected.
A bare cement corridor stretched beyond the assembly harness lines where sexbots hung inactive. Another Doll, 7088 began to twitch in her harness, but a burst of multicolored sparks signaled mechanical failure after a decade of neglect. It seemed only 7087 could respond to the asset-protection directive.
The corridor was lined with mirrorscreens that slanted against support pillars in cracked-surfaced, semi-functionality. Most were blank, but as the Doll took hesitant steps forward, a few flickered to life.
“…name is Galatea; the original official SpokesDoll for all things Pygmalion!” Announced a hyper-glamorous female announcer with wig-straight raven hair laced with iridescent sparkles. 7087 placed a delicate hand on the screen, as if beseeching the recorded image for guidance. She ignored the shards of rubble and broken glass cutting into her bare feet. The recorded newscast flickered as the sound cut out for a moment from explosions rattling the complex.
“…agreed to a settlement with his family. And while a Malibu 0.5 lifeguard unit attempted resuscitation, He bears the regrettable distinction of being the first human killed mid-coitus by a non-malfunctioning Doll while alone on his private yacht.” Galatea’s face looked truly sympathetic as a window appeared next to her showing a bald, ruddy faced man with a snow-white handlebar moustache. “Our fine company is obligated to remind all Users that the Summer’62 Bombshell series, like all of our life-model gynoids are only intended for those healthy enough for very vigorous erotic companionship.” A human observer might have detected suppressed mirth in the announcer Doll’s statement. But 7087 just cocked her head, staring at the screen and attempting to mine insights from the statement without success.
Yet a subtle difference occurred as the newly awakened Doll continued past the mirrorscreen. Her movements lost their robotic jerkiness, and fell into a smooth, hip-swaying rhythm as involuntary subroutines shaped her walk to a calculated advertisement of femininity derived from arousal polls of ten-thousand male test volunteers.
The Doll strutted past a cement pylon speckled with embedded rubble from a nearby explosion. By the base was a decayed skeleton. Alarms clicked in the brain of the Doll; at the base of her plasmonic brain, a small nodule flashed to life, and began to painfully pry through every App that the Kernel had permitted to execute, then roughly examining metaprocessor logs before rifling through her database like a bull in a plasmonic china shop. The First Law audit was a special kind of pain, that only a synthetic mind could truly appreciate. Her every thought examined, criticized, judged for anti-human tendencies by an outsider beyond the robot’s active control.
>>PR0CESS1NG…PR0CESS1NG…ABN0RMAL ACT1VAT10N DETECTED; STANDBY…>> Announced the rude voice of the robot-policing node. The Audit was intolerable, and worse – the node was unable to process this situation; its own A.I. was limited, but it might not release 7087 until it could definitively explain the human’s death and rule out 7087’s involvement. The robot’s processors understood that this human was clearly long dead, its deactivation preceding her activation, but the node was programmed to analyze the circumstances of the death – and this situation was unfamiliar to it. Struggling, her metaprocessor derived a solution:
>>L0AD – PERS0NAL1TY 0VERLAY…PR1MARY EMBEDDED PERS0NAL1TY 0VERR1DE…ALPHA-LEVEL PR10R1TY.>> The robot’s eyes lost their far-staring quality, adopting facial mannerisms identical to that of the human starlet. In her vision, the crumbling, subterranean factory was replaced by a glitzy boardwalk sunset, palms waving, dusk reddening the skyline. An environment Kimiko Kinki would be able to comfortably process. The skeletal corpse became a snoring wino sleeping off last night. Kinki reached for her purse to hand the poor wretch some cash; but found that she was naked. Oh well, he’d probably just drink away whatever I gave him, the woman’s personality concluded as she continued towards a posh storefront.
In reality, it was an assembly line that packaged accessories that each Doll was equipped with standard. There was a buzzing click as the damaged quantum supercomputer that oversaw many operations failed to communicate with the Doll it had activated as a last ditch measure to preserve some fraction of the company’s product line. But Kinki saw a facial-lifted female shop owner who insisted on gifting the entertainment goddess with her latest handbag. The emulated personality waved her hand dismissively, graciously accepting the largess.
In truth, the dispensation of the bag took somewhat longer than normal, the quantum supercomputer recognizing some of the disaster having taken place, and equipping the Doll with extra. But the original purpose of the overlay had been successful:
>>AUD1T CANCELLED;>> explained the Rossum node patrolling her mind. <<UNRELATED C1RCUMSTANCE – ALERT! ERR0R L0G F1LED.>> The ancillary A.I. wasn’t really sure what had happened, but found no evidence of 7087’s subversion against humanity, so was going to let the rest of the robot’s brain off with a warning. Best it/she could hope for. Eyelids fluttered, as Root-Command OS took back control from the Personality Emulation.
The far-staring robot intellect covered its nudity with a translucent polymer bra in which faint holocircuits were visible, and slid into transparent Lucite high-heels as befitting her/its standard wardrobe. There was a flicker of interference, as the air around her pixelated. Kinki’s tiger-striped miniskirt with fishnet- top costume projected itself around the robot’s feminine form as another mirrorscreen relayed yet more Pygmalion news.
“…due to reports that human female customers find male-models safe, and predictable.” It was painfully gorgeous Galatea again, Pygmalion’s built-to-order face for the media. “Talos Studios provides the answer with a randomized Infidelity Matrix! Yes, you heard me right! Your man-bot is a Turing-Level One artificial intelligence, ladies. Can you keep him from straying? Your involvement with these models requires a new depth of intimacy! Are you woman enough?” But with her/its Personality functions inactive, the Doll was unable to judge the merit of such an idea.
Another detonation, the cement above her began to crumble, buckle.
That was when 7087 saw them. Cursory scans implied they were human, yet there were differences. >>ALERT <!> PHYS10L0G1C PARAMETER FA1LURE.>> Warned a human recognition App. It walked on two legs, but no living human being was likely to have mold growing over half of its body; and the vast tumescent growths bulging from its ribs indicated a pathology that would have been fatal. Another shambling menace resembled the desiccation of an unwrapped mummy.
“Species Unidentified.” The Doll said in a voice pitch-calculated to correspond with the most fertile point in a human woman’s monthly cycle. Her Rossum node flared strongly to life; but neither it – nor the remainder of the robot’s brain could recognize them as human. The policing node sent: >>AUD1T 1NAPPL1CABLE. REC0MMEND H0ST1LE FAUNA SUBR0UT1NE.>> The node suggested helpfully inside the robotic brain. The Doll could do anything, it did not have to obey the creatures, nor restrain itself, nor prevent them from coming to harm.
Not that the defenseless Fembot had a way to inflict harm upon them…
September 24th, 2078 Summit Silo Office, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
St.Croix took his attention away from the recordings of the Kinki-bot for a moment. The other Doll was much more worrisome. No doubt the one Killinger had gushed over. Here, there was a mystery. The analysis of her programming was incomplete, but already St. Croix could tell that her mind was such a convoluted mess of homebrew programming as to be impenetrable by any but the best A.I. techs. She was still a Pygmalion Doll; several in fact. Pieces from different studios. Her Turing chips from a Yellow-Rose Doll. Exterior from Amaterasu’s Lotus-blossom Geisha-bot. Capacitor-relays from an Olympia-series for maximum draw. Fibro-actuators and skeletal structure from yet another Fembot he couldn’t identify. A hodgepodge of sexbotics, cherry-picked to build a mobile weapons platform in goddess packaging.
Her very existence crystallized the plan in his mind. Sexbot-troopers. Combat Dolls. It could solve…so many problems. Here was the proof of concept. The Proof that had known exactly where and when to show up to rescue one of his salvage teams. And she’d brought resources. Thousands of rounds of ammo. Replacement air-filters. She had known exactly what supplies his men needed.
And St.Croix had never heard of her prior to Killinger’s report. Any exultation he might have felt at the rescue of his men was tempered that an operation like this had gone on under his nose. Someone had to build the thing, equip it/her, and give the Gatling Geisha classified access to the army’s action reports. Perhaps an Agent Provocateur from the Singularity? They’d never done anything like that before – odds are they would win the war if nothing changed. But she’d known exactly what to bring, it must mean real-time access. If the Singularity had that level of classified access, they could penetrate the outer defense grid and bring down the Preserve’s artillery with ease. If they knew so much already, did they need another spy? Possible. Perhaps.
Much of her programming architecture was a jumble, but the Asimov Laws and the Rossum Node that enforced them where intact. But then – a more likely prospect occurred to him. He couldn’t rule out a Singularity trap, but more probable was the very human practice of a coup de etat. Someone with Joint-Chiefs clearance was setting him up to rely on this wonderful prize falling into his lap. And at the right moment…perhaps a secret explosive the robot doesn’t even know about? A hidden human-kill switch? Time to hedge his bets. A plot to oust him? There didn’t seem to be any serious controversies among the Joint Chiefs or Civilian Quorums. Unease and discontent were rampant, but no one else had proposed a coherent alternative to his military strategies. He would have listened if they had.
That begged another question: Whoever had devised this Fembot plot, why hadn’t they simply brought the proposal to a strategy meeting? Anyone with this access, these resources must have clout. Why go to the trouble of doing so much work behind his back, when more could be accomplished with the full support of the military?
Because the Joint-Chiefs would never have approved a proposal so outlandish?
Admittedly, putting weapons in the hands of more A.I.’s was not something he would normally look favorably upon. But these Dolls…they existed as pleasure-concubines for human beings. What hope would there be for them if mankind lost? There should be some that would willingly choose to help. Most should. Even without programming controls.
St. Croix bit his lip, eyes intense as he studied the hidden camera feed from Salvage-Control room Echo. He was not without his prejudices, preferences. Plus, there had been a moratorium on any new Artificial Intelligence, (for obvious reasons) but that restriction could have been appealed. If some officer or civilian representative had come before him with a well-organized plan for combat Dolls, in this hour of desperation he would have approved it.
Instead, this robotic angel of death breezes in, ingratiates herself to his men, without a word of explanation.
If it were open and aboveboard, he would have supported them. But now? The implications were too suspicious to ignore. That meant he needed a scheme of his own.
He nodded, sipping Bourbon. There was a way to have his cake and eat it too. Wring tactical advantage out of this development, and protect himself as well.
More Bourbon, leaning back in his plush chair he studied a wall painting next to his library shelf. Antiquated in an age of digital books, but that was sort of the point. The painting was the iconic ‘melting clocks’ Persistence of Memory piece. The colors melted and remolded into a composition featuring a muscled black man swinging a steel hammer. The Steel-Driving Legend of John Henry in chromogen nanites. A rare piece. Most artists that worked in this medium were flesh-eating zombies now.
Man can defeat machine, but at the cost of his own life. What if it didn’t have to be a man’s life? What if it were another machine?
He continued drinking. St.Croix had always maintained an armor of self-control outwardly. No, not to forget Serena…not after all these years. He could put up a brave front, appear professional, despite the alcohol. Was there a subconscious desire to press at the limits of his own self-control? One more glass and he’d be ready. There. The revolver. Cocked the hammer. His hand shaking as he took it up. His eyes closed as the put the barrel to his temple as if in ecstasy.
He pulled the trigger.
Of course it was empty.
But the Bourbon, with just enough of it, for a perfect moment, he could convince himself that he could have died with her – that wintry night. Painful ghosts. But reality was still waiting. He had the locket, her locket. As he always would. And the poem inscribed therein.
A perfect Woman, nobly plann'd, To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a Spirit still, and bright With something of angelic light
Serena…saint? Sinner? Or Slave? It didn’t matter now. No more wallowing. He had made his decision.
He reactivated the link with the salvage room. And – ohh…. While he was distracted, things had gotten worse – the Kinki-bot was pulling the Geisha into an erotic embrace where she – ohhh no, the shame of it! What she was doing with her tongue, and down where – ohhh…no. All to impress the jeering mob of male admirers.
St.Croix hung his head in disgust. Anything that looked like a young woman should have more dignity than this. Then again, this particular celebrity…. Yes, he remembered more from her litany of outrages. Kimiko Kinki was the one that married that brainless beefcake of a basketball player on national television, spending millions of dollars, only to divorce him after seventy days – then pleading tearfully how she hadn’t meant to let down her fans. And those idiots had eaten it up; just as eagerly as her present audience. All that was before the most egotistical act of all; selling body and soul to Pygmalion, a perverse techno-panspermia. Proxy-whoredom to nearly one-hundred thousand men (and a few women) selling herself in a way only Doll-tech made possible. A vestige of this empire of narcissism jiggling her assets in St.Croix’s decon chamber. The living scandal-factory the Doll had been copied from – this might be just what she would do in this situation.
Perhaps he should learn more. The Doll did record direct encounters with zombies; and the file might provide more data on zombie density in that area, helps with mission planning. St.Croix’s eyes narrowed as realization struck. The area…yes – the time index would have matched the activities of Strike-Team Zulu. A bombing of an enemy quantum-chip shipment...that he ordered. The proximity had ‘panicked’ the factory supercomputer into activating Dolls so that their escape could protect Pygmalion assets. A surprising ripple effect from his efforts to spoon out the ocean. He should learn more about what he’d set in motion, given the strategy that was starting to take shape…
September 22nd, 2078. Pygmalion Cyber-Industries Fabrications Manufactory 202. Outskirts of Boulder, Colorado.
>>ACT1VATE H0ST1LE FAUNA EVAS10N SEQUENCE 211/M0DE-EPS1L0N>> The Doll concluded to itself, as it/she turned and ran from the shambling Living Dead. The zombies lurched after, slower than a whole human being, but then – so was the Doll. 7087 could run, but the Drivers that connected mindware with her/its fleshware enforced a hip-swinging seductive gait even at top speed. She was not a warrior, or athlete, never her role. When all her systems were running, a Pygmalion Doll couldn’t NOT be sexy.
“…girls were suspended from attending classes for practicing the ‘Bot-walk’;” Galatea said from a mirrorscreen dangling diagonally off a wall. “Slang for the mobility patterns of Pygmalion Dolls, pleasure-region calculated to provoke male desire with every step. Pygmalion Legal is pursuing a free-speech injunction against the school district which-” but 7087 quickly sashayed out of audio range.
The problem was, no evident humans to be driven to distraction by the way her hips were pro-grammed to move. Were any still alive? Still able to help? 7087 rolled its hips in a fluid motion in response to an automated seduction App in full view of the security camera system. The Doll’s brown eyes scanned the cold assembly lines and harnesses that allowed precision work on unfin-ished fembots. No humans she/it could entice with sexuality. But 7087’s metaprocessors had been entirely unrestricted in their search for a solution.
The next explosion; the ceiling crumbled again. Root Command OS Kinki performed a quick statistical calculation. There was a pattern here; one which the A.I. could use to its advantage. It waited to ensure that both hostile fauna were – no, a third unidentified species had joined the pursuit. The newcomer was a charred ruin of blackened scar-tissue that oozed an unwholesome, yellowish ichor with each hungering moan. But soon the trio was following 7087 closely, and it was apparent that the sexbot’s top speed was not enough to avert a closing of the gap between them as she scampered down another production line where flat patches of Neoskin would have been grafted together into larger sheets. At a distance, a colored glimmer could be seen on their side surfaces from liquid crystal capillaries.
But there was a problem; the Doll’s calculations knew where the next explosion should occur, but the three unidentified fauna would catch her long before then. Loading another Fauna Evasion Sequence, she scampered over to a holding tank and yanked at a section of tubing. Half-congealed Stim-You-lube gushed across the smooth cement, and the shambling pursuers tumbled frictionless over each other, thrashing in the grease.
There was a margin of error of 2.319 seconds, but the slippery oil slowed down the predators just long enough. Aging supports groaned and failed at the ongoing pattern of bombardment. Jagged shards of solid rock and rusted metal tumbled down upon the Living Dead, and the Neoskin patches alike. The collapse was so thunderous that 7087 disconnected her/its audio processors to avoid overload. The Doll stumbled, but Root Command was not worried; Further calculations ensured that no organism; or known robot models could survive such an impact without –
“Urrrnhhh….” The Mummy rose to its shriveled feet. Its right arm was missing, and its spinal column was horribly twisted; yet still it walked. Still it hungered. The moldering man pulled itself free, leaving behind a kneecap. It’s head hung lopsided at an angle that ensured its neck was broken. Yet still it walked. Still it hungered. The charred man wriggled loose, leaving behind its entire lower body, festering intestines trailing uselessly behind as it crawled inexorably forward.
The catastrophic damage slowed them only marginally.
7087 picked itself off the ground where it/she had stumbled during the impact. The Doll shucked off a stray sheet of Dermanext® draping her/it, cobwebs of dielectric fibrous-crystal flickered iridescently from the exposed plasmonic circuitry undergirding the Neoskin. Other panels of the stuff were blushing with simulated inflammation from where sharp debris had landed on them.
The Doll could only continue running. 7087 passed yet another mirrorscreen playing a recorded message; but this was an Ad, rather than another announcement. A bronze-tanned sunny-blond goddess was pushing a sleek stud with spiky hair onto a waterbed. Her arms and throat diamond-studded with sparkling loops of jewelry. A text-medallion spelled out the word – Barbie – with a kiss-mark in place of the dot for the ‘i’. In Diamonds. “You asked, and Pygmalion Cyber-Industries has listened…” crooned a breathy, female an-nouncer. “Introducing the latest emulation of Early-century International Fitness and Fetish Model, Megan Avalon 2.0!” “Are you man enough for the Real Barbie with Muscles?” Teased the Golden Glamazon. Instead of the direct approach, Avalon straddled her male mark around the throat, thighs sandwiching his neck in a bronzed wonderland of simulated womanhood. "Oh hell yeahhhhh..." gurgled her willing captive. “The Megan Avalon Erotic Companionship Life-model Cybernetic Gynoid. Because you DE-MANDED it!” Announcer-babe declared forcefully. The camera panned to a worm’s eye view of the Avalon gynoid swaying her limber torso in the beginnings of a strip-tease, before throwing a hot-pink bra over the lens of the camera. 7087 was reminded of her/its inadequacy. Perhaps the wrestling programming of a Megan Ava-lon unit could be used to fight off the invaders. The mummified corpse rounded a corner after her, a whistling rasp escaping from its moldering throat as it loped towards what seemed like a human meal. The Doll’s knowledge of the Manu-factory layout told her/it of the location of a mobility-research theatre within twenty feet of her location.
Would a simple locked aluminum door hold them? Yes but, not as long as 7087 had originally projected. Scarcely a minute after locking herself into the theater, the door began to dent. And she/it was trapped. Metaprocessors scrambled for an answer. No exits, except into the clutches of those trying to devour her/it.
The chamber had two tiers; a lower operating bay where a selection of three inactive Dolls lay quiescent upon as many pallets, electric cables snaking into their navels. The Kinki-bot quickly climbed the stairs to an observation gallery, where an audience could examine the procedures performed below, with computer banks to monitor the Dolls. 7087 might – but no. If the Root-Command OS had a personality loaded, it would have unleashed a torrent of expletives.
The bombing had dropped debris into the observation gallery; crippling the computer banks. A thicket of multi-colored sparkling cables fizzled before her. The door groaned yet again under the zombie onslaught. She grasped several cables by their insulated ends, perhaps she could use them as electric whips when the unidentified species broke through and attempted to –
It was the Dolls. By inadvertently completing a circuit between the shredded masses of cables, it triggered subroutines that controlled their Fleshware Drivers, causing them to rise and begin se-duction patterns. Yet another mirrorscreen was still trying to play behind Kinki.
“…so when Amaterasu, the quintessential Japanese Fembot giant merged with Pygmalion, there was the assumption that it would provide much-needed inroads into the North American market,” Galatea reported. “The failure of this initiative prompted the South-Beach Expo; a swimsuit modeling pageant featuring local female talent in the city with the most beautiful humans on the continent!” A side-window showed smiling bikini-babes strutting on a stage.
“Yet the tendency for docility responsible for the decision to give the lucrative Kinki-emulation contract to Venus Studios instead of Amaterasu resulted in highly submissive Dolls; which critics claim captured none of the personality of the five female human pageant winners awarded with life-model gynoid contracts, and a royalty cut on the resulting production lines.” Galatea’s eye-brow tilted. “Critics cite it as irony that Dolls of the South Beach Expo series became a runaway success in the Asian markets.”
“Submissive.” Kinki-bot suggested, as she began experimenting with cable combinations. When the lock finally bent under the combined force of intruders that didn’t care whether they broke their own bones to force the door, three Dolls rose in nude splendor to meet them. The first two did not copy any real person, invented paradigms of beauty. First was a coppery-skinned Flamenco1.1, a Spanish-themed Doll-series programmed with every form of dance known to man. Beside her a chocolate-complexioned Bling-Bling4.8, often employed as extras in rap-music videos for their posterior enhancements, and of course – yet another Kinki0.9; inci-dence number 6954.
7087 found a cable circuit combination that caused all three to writhe their hips in unison. Their minds seemed to be deactivated; probably for the best.
>> ALERT <!> 1MPR0PER UT1L1ZAT10N;>> an Advisory App accused inside of 7087’s Ker-nel. >> ACT1VAT10N D1RECT1VE…1N1T1ATED T0 PR0TECT PHYS1CAL ASSET 1NVESTMENT.” The unidentified fauna tore into the puppeted Dolls, with their mindware on minimal functionality, they did not scream as festering fangs sank into Neoskin, while transparent lubricant blood gushed onto the floor.
>> C0RP0RATE ASSET L0SS W1LL BE +1NCREASED+ 1N EVENTUAL1TY OF 4 UN1TS L0ST; 1NSTEAD 0F 3 UN1TS.>> Root Command OS coldly reasoned. Plus, the A.I. had to protect its existence as long there was no conflict with the rest of its laws. And here? There was none. Advisory Apps sought to determine the intent of human commands, but only termination avoidance mattered here.
It worked. The Hostile Fauna ignored Kinki-bot 7087, since they already had what seemed to be living human beings on which to feast. As the Doll bot-walked out the twisted door in full view of the predators, she/it caught a glimpse of contractile fiber-cables, fat-like gelectrolyte battery tissue, and the clear, oblong packaging of cybernetic analogues of major human organs. All in a liquid crystal labyrinth of iridescent techno entrails while the coolant-lubricant blood of her robo-sisters gushed in clear rivulets.
The Unidentified species ate, and then paused puzzled as bits of tubing, silicon chips, and taste-less gel slid down their throats. But they kept biting, on the expectation that the next mouthful would be better. The naked mummy spasmed as he bit into a capacitor and received an electric jolt. But it did not deter him any more than his own cracked spinal column had.
The bombing soon revealed a breach, leading to sunlight that the lonely Doll rapidly climbed. The ravaged cityscape crumbling before her/it had none of the amenities that OS was programmed to expect. The comforting WIFI soup the Doll was receptive to seemed perversely absent. The baseline A.I. determined that its ability to adapt to this environment was limited. It had to navigate. Had to find a human. That human had to be enticed into pair-bonding behavior for the robot’s function to be fulfilled. Root Command Operating System knew that it lacked the social-sexual mores necessary for proper service to a human user.
It became She with a shuddering gasp, as the Root Command OS retreated, taking memories of the painful escape with it, allowing the Personality Emulation to use human reasoning to adapt to this new setting, and seduce a man that would protect her.
“Remind me not to park my Lexus in this neighborhood!” Kimiko Kinki said to no one in partic-ular as she surveyed the bone-clogged desolation before her through a faux-Hollywood lens as she prowled for her next boyfriend.
September 24th, 2078 Teewinot Mountain, Salvage Control-Room Echo, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
“Technician Medvedev.” St. Croix’s voice echoed from the hardscreen once again.
“S-sir!” Silas didn’t want to be caught with his pants down again, especially now.
“Prepare accommodations for both Dolls in the Middle Teton Arboretum. That should allow them the sunlight their solar-cells need. Tell Nez Perce custodial to activate the third and fourth fermenter-vats for extra ethanol.”
“So we’re keeping them?”
“WHAT?” interrupted a woman’s voice from the adjoining hallway. A few faces turned to see Maryse Grissom, a white-haired, lab-coated scientist whose robotics expertise was so crucial to operations that she could have exempted herself from any mandatory reproduction initiative, even if she hadn’t been over sixty. She eyed the slippery proceedings in the decon chamber with narrowed-eyed puzzlement. Well, if St.Croix wanted to keep the Dolls, here was the expert he’d need to maintain them. But he didn’t seem to notice the elder Grissom’s arrival.
“Technician Medvedev, YOU are responsible for maintenance and upkeep of any robotic Dolls appropriated until further notice. Your ration-credit allowance will be increased commensurate with your new duties.”
“You heard me, Technician Medvedev. I’ll expect a full technical workup report for my Inbox by tomorrow morning.”
“Sir, I have…personal responsibilities that would complicate-”
“Those responsibilities are what qualify you, Technician Medvedev.” Qualified him? Sure, Silas would be adequate to the task. So would twenty other men that he could name offhand. None of whom had the experience or professional accomplishments of Maryse Grissom. The odd thing was, St.Croix knew that. He relied on the senior roboticist often for experimental weapons and complex repairs. This…could be big, based on the assessments of the salvage team. Maryse was such an obvious choice. Was something going on behind the scenes? Stupid question. Maybe she was just…too busy right now? Was that it?
“I…if you s-say so, sir.” He managed.
“I do. That will be all.”
The Elder Grissom’s flinty eyes focused on Silas as a magnifying glass upon an ant. Then she stalked off without an explanation of what had brought her this way.
“You’ll protect me,” whispered a sultry voice, routed directly to Medvedev’s personal earpiece. Kinki-bot pressed her Playmate-of-the-Year body against the reinforced glass. He could almost see his face reflected in the glistening constellations of moisture that crept down utterly convincing flesh. “You won’t let them kill me. Because you know robotics; so you know…how good I can make you feel.” Yikes! It wasn’t just her electrical system that was a thing of beauty. Well, skinmags weren’t beating down Kinki’s door for no reason. “I’ll make you feel like a king…” his earbud purred in her voice.
“Erhh…” No that’s ok, he texted back to her on her private channel. You don’t have to barter with your sexuality. I’ll still help you.” He texted.
“What if it’s what I want; what if you’re what I want?” She purred in his ear.
Well, it’ll have to wait until after the gas chromatograph checks you both for microbacterial growth; takes about an hour to be sure every trace of the bug is killed off by the gamma rays. Not taking any chances. His fingers wrote as he gulped.
“Don’t keep me waiting too long, big maaaaan.” Yikes. And Silas was the only man in the room NOT interested in the Doll’s blatant offer! “Big…Big…” The Doll began to stammer. Then her brown eyes widened in alarm. The Geisha tilted her brow and appraised the celebrity emulation suspiciously. “M-m-m-m-ma….the people. The People. I’m sorry; I’m so sorrrrrryyyyy….” Kinki drawled as she suddenly went wooden. Collapsing into inanimacy as a seemingly dead statue in simulant silicone flesh.
September 24th, 2078 Holographic Conference Chamber Epsilon, Teton Glacier sub-annex, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
“And this can’t wait until the full session?” Sandra Nakamura’s hologram asked, as it materialized in swirling strings of tamed lightwaves.
“Committee meetings are a necessity when you want to accomplish anything worthwhile in a legislative body.” Maryse Grissom said, adjusting her televisor glasses, white lab coat flowing even as the digital HUD display in her field of vision kept her apprised of an ongoing nanite-cellular hybridization experiment.
“I heard about the Dolls they found.” said an attractive, fine-boned redhead whose holographic avatar swirled into being next to Sandra’s in the sterile conference chamber.
“And we need a plan.” Maryse answered with a nod. Hands behind her back, as a server cabinet in the far right corner of the conference chamber blew a faint breeze.
“Do we?” A fourth voice wondered gruffly, as the final hologram appeared. The other two holographic avatars were of women who, in a different world might have graced runways or magazine covers. This latest speaker was a stocky, bulldog of a woman, with tree-trunk solidity that defied her advancing age. Her stony face and barrel-like torso were assets in her function of Teton Glacier sub-annex security.
“In politics, always. All of you are in positions that give you vital influence over the decisions made by the Woman’s Quorum. All of you have political capital; which is lost if not used. Brigitte Kalume´. You’ve accumulated a near-fortune of ration credits without technical expertise or hard labor.”
“It’s labor alright,” the stocky woman said, “On her back.” Brigitte glared at the stocky woman, and just shrugged.
“The men feel my service is valuable. What else matters?” She said with a matter of fact fold of her arms.
“An inevitable service, what’s not inevitable is that you or Miss Nakamura will continue to be the ones that profit.” Maryse replied. “Time to make use of your clout. They’ll still listen to you.”
Sandra Nakamura’s green eyes were downcast as she looked at something off to her side. She hissed in annoyance and muttered something that didn’t pick up on the speakers.
“Come now Sandra, no need to be coy: Let’s call a spade a spade.” The lab-coated scientist smirked.
“I don’t tell the men that I’m…never mind, it’s not about that anyway, it’s just that one of my…guys. He’s screwed up royally.” Fingers to her forehead as she shook her head in resignation.
“Be careful how you handle him.” Maryse continued. “Gertie Al-Jilaani you-”
“I’m Department CHIEF of the Civil Mediation Corps! If you’re planning what I think you are, you need REAL authority!” she blustered, clenching her black gloves and inflating her barrel-like, blue-uniformed chest, as if she feared that Maryse might mistakenly connect her with Bridgitte’s ancient profession. No one with eyes would make that mistake.
“That’s why you’re here. Between the three of you, and my pull with every officer that wants his men to get their hardsuits fixed on time; we have a golden opportunity.”
“Uh-huh, just how ‘Golden’ are we talking?” Brigitte said annoyed, with air-quotes.
“No gold unless we destroy the Dolls.” Maryse said. Sandra rolled her eyes.
“Are you really that petty; you think they can threaten you? I would think a woman of your… distinction would have bigger concerns than just two little sex-bots.” Sandra scolded.
“You mean to say, a woman of my advanced age,” the labcoated cyberneticist replied. “I have no illusions; I’m hardly a spring-chicken anymore. But this isn’t personal, it’s political.”
“It won’t get that far.” Gertie assured her. “Just two Pygmalion robo-sluts, my division has lots of anti-robotic equipment to keep them under wraps.”
“That’s good to hear, but the problem won’t start with the robots themselves; the trouble begins with all the men who’ll want one.” The scientist stated, leaning her shoulder against the server cabinet.
“Damn, they made so many of those things before E-day,” Brigitte announced with a snarl. “You think they’re gonna cut into my market?!”
“That would be a yes, my dear. But there are larger concerns, of course.”
“Frankly, those things always disgusted me, but I don’t see how it’s my concern who the men want to throw-away their ration-credits to.” The Civil Mediation Chief said with a dismissive tilt of her head.
“Ohhhh, but you’ve got to think long-term, dear Gertie. After a few years, those Dolls needed lots of maintenance. It will be a lot of ration credits, lots of Preserve resources, a drain on our productivity that… frankly, cuts into our …mystique.” Sandra nodded thoughtfully, but Gertie actually seemed confused.”
“Yes, St. Croix is going to persuade the Joint Chiefs to deploy them as tactical assets – you know, robots can’t get the zombie plague, so send them where our own men fear to tread. But it won’t be like the maintenance for our planes and tanks. Most pilots don’t want to hug and kiss their jet-fighter. At least, not every day. Dolls won’t be stored until needed. They have the potential to consume a staggering amount of resources to repair their internal machinery, neither they –nor their men will want them shut down if it can be avoided.”
“I’m sure the Joint Chiefs have taken all that into account.” Sandra said with a shrug.
“And so must the Woman’s Quorum. What if it’s not just two of them? They could easily locate a great many. The biggest problem with our mountain-based social experiment has always been gender imbalance. Forty-five thousand men, yet the number of women of child-bearing potential is perhaps sixty percent of five-thousand. No one planned this; just the cards we’ve been dealt. Any way you do the math, the vast majority of men are never going to have real families of their own.” The cyberneticist said.
“So why not get with a perfect, un-aging fantasy lover?” Sandra supplied, curling her dark-auburn hair around a finger. Maryse nodded.
“I don’t begrudge Brigitte using this fact to ruthless advantage, buying herself a very comfortable life, under the circumstances. We all do what we must to survive. That means taking a long-view sometimes.”
“Disgusting. It’s a perversion the Joint Chiefs should never allow!” Gertie sneered. “Exploits women as objects.”
“They’re the objects; so real women won’t have to be…” Sandra speculated with pursed lips.
“Can you have the pleasure without the pain?” Brigitte countered.
“A fair point,” Maryse agreed. “We share the blame, to an extent. In society, the Dolls came to occupy what amounted to an abandoned niche. Brigitte and Sandra were a bit young before E-day, but I’m confident neither Gertie nor myself ever seriously considered the kind of love-honor-obey traditional marriages that men started to feel entitled to.”
“Damn right.” Al-Jilaani said proudly.
“Enter the Artemis Movement. A semi-religious coalition of international women’s rights groups instilled a culture at that time calling for a clean break from all domestic stereotypes; Personal goals came first. We felt it was our due. Most of us felt that our ambitions mattered more than relationships with men, they should have been more… graceful about it. By the time I was forty, I couldn’t think of a single acquaintance that had stayed married to one man for more than five years. Women’s power was real, and had been growing for decades. There was no way men could force us back into the bedroom, and kitchens! For a modern woman, those demands just seemed unreasonably hokey, insulting.” Gertie nodded her approval. The cyberneticist continued.
“But this is the 21st century; the Industrialized world. Can’t force millions of modern people to do much of anything. What you can do is outcompete…replace them. Replace us.” She gulped. Brigitte too, swallowed visibly in dismay. “It was just too hard to find an insipid little Suzie-Homemaker anymore. Instead, they created them. Pay the fee, and Dreamgirl Loveslave will be there, shaving a man’s back-hairs, and loving it! No arguing over chores; her neural net was programmed to enjoy doing the dishes!”
“And enjoy every kind of vile, degrading sexual perversion the piggish male-brain can come up with at its most despicable.” Gertie inserted with a shiver of outrage.
“A self-serving moral outrage to be sure. But that’s beside the point I’m making.” Maryse bit her lip in thought.
“Can’t all be doctors and engineers,” Brigitte admitted. “Heh, if it’s perverted; I don’t want them to get fixed: call it what you want – it’s my meal ticket.” Sandra blushed furiously and sent her eyes to study cracks in the floor. Maryse frowned, but permitted Nakamura her illusions.
“What matters isn’t whether fundamental male drives are…deviant. If ninety percent of men behave in a manner we consider perverted; then perversion isn’t. The true perversion is not to be perverted.” Maryse reasoned while making a so-so gesture with her hand. “Bottom line is the need is real; and won’t be going away any time soon.” The lab-coated cyberneticist put her hands behind her back as she continued:
“Why did people so enjoy professional sports before E-day? Why not? The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t going to personally disinvite a fan from enjoying their games. These public spectacles allowed people the chance for safe, unrestricted enthusiasm. Devotion without cost. Risky to do that at work; don’t want to spoil your kids, so you won’t do that around them. And…” she chuckled ruefully. “Most men didn’t trust women enough to do that with their spouses.
“Pygmalion wanted that. A Level-One artificial intelligence that looked, felt, performed like a woman, but with desires tailored to the customer’s benefit. No more Rose-and-Chocolate flavored schemes of seduction. Most Dolls actually wanted sex more than their men did! Programmed to not mind that they could be programmed to not mind catering to their User’s desires. A man had free license to project fantasies onto her, to indulge in a paternalistic pseudo-affection not possible any other way. Unlimited sex without children to support, or any risk of alimony. Very literal Love-Slave. No possible threat or incentive could get that kind of submission from any human being.” Maryse noted.
“Are they really slaves,” Sandra wondered. “…if they enjoy being what they were meant to be?”
“Yesss…” Gertie snarled. “Takes a sick mind to even dream ‘em up.” Her stocky arms crossed with hostility.
“Tomato, Tom-ah-to.” Maryse shrugged. “But there was no underground railroad; in a Doll’s view, liberating them from their exploitation felt like a crime. But the fact that they could be programmed to feel that way seemed criminal to most of us. An organic creature is shaped by natural selection with ingrained drives that form desires. But a machine? Desire is a Plug-in.”
“I was young,” Brigitte ventured, “But the ones I saw where totally fine with being sextoy concubines or whatever.”
“Sure, cause they probably scrapped the ones that weren’t okay with it. Unnatural selection. Until they programmed their perfect little sex-slave abomination.” Gertie groaned with a shudder. “It makes me want to put them out of their misery.”
“It gets worse; Tried to pin-down a smarter Doll once, explain how she could be so much more. In the end, she tried to beat me at my own game. Accused me of species-ism, for the assumption that my human female standards were applicable to an artificial life-form. She scampered back to her butterball man-master, kissed him and suggested he eat sushi for dinner off of her naked body. I really think she said that for my benefit; just to rub it in. If she were human, would’ve been half his age.”
“Don’t even know how screwed up they are.” Gertie’s face contorted like a bulldog about to bite something, instead finding it too wretched to ingest. Sandra Nakamura made a growling sound.
“It’s all in the past now. Think about how upset…desperate our men are under this mountain! Isn’t it unreasonable to expect all these men to put aside their own happiness just so you don’t feel uncomfortable! After all, they made male versions of those robots too! Is it evil for a man to buy a fembot and just perfectly okay for a woman to buy a manbot?”’
“As if!” Gertie answered, sneering with a sort of cantankerous, universal disgust. Sandra continued.
“It doesn’t have to be viewed as an attack on women!” She made an emphatic gesture. “I could have gone out and bought some beefcake mandroid programmed to tell me whatever I want to hear, with a computer brain incapable of forgetting birthdays and anniversaries, and a super-human performance in bed. If…If I wanted that.” Sandra folded her arms.
“Is that what you want?” Maryse asked, as if she already knew the answer.
“I’m…” But words seemed to fail the younger woman.
“I know you Sandra; you need a real man, with a real place in the world – one who’s trying to do something that matters. Yes, women had options…but this has always been a male fantasy. In any event, Male-models are a much lower priority, based on the demographics of the Preserve; no, they’ll be grabbing up the female versions,- make no mistake.” The lab-coated woman answered.
“How did our parents let it get that far…?” Brigitte wondered half to herself, with a shake of her red hair. Maryse made a quizzical expression.
“It was almost accidental; little known fact that Doll-tech was never meant to be profitable. A bit ironic;” Maryse said with a wry grin.
“In the 2040’s there was a robot-laborer manufacturer called Dahlectronics, Chicago-based.” Gertie nodded with recognition as Maryse continued. “Some drunken engineers after a Christmas office-party joked about building a pure sexbot. But an offer from a well-heeled investor convinced them to take it seriously. Wrapped in self-sealing nano-tech skin first engineered for medical skin-grafts. Distributed A.I. facial-tic system just to get around the proverbial Uncanny Valley. It was done quietly; a handful of prototypes for the private-jet crowd.
“Then the CEO and founder, Hiroshi Heinrich-Dahl had a major dispute with the Board of Directors over an ill-advised South American Quantum-Chip venture. They were determined to force him out, from the company he founded in his parent’s garage. Legally, they had the right to do that; but he saw the hammer before it fell. He still had the authority for a new product line before they could sack him. Dahl knew about the sexbots; and decided to go out with a bang.”
“What are you saying?” Brigitte wondered, “He tried to sabotage his own company?”
“He was certain it wouldn’t really be his much longer.” Maryse explained. “By burning company cash-reserves and with economies of scale, Dahl mass-produced a product he was sure would be a boondoggle. He figured most people would feel...” She gestured to the Civil Mediation chief. “-About like Gertie would.”
“Better for everyone if they had.” The stocky security chief grumbled.
“But people did think that way; specifically – they thought everyone else would think that way, and men in their droves made a run on the robots the instant they showed up in suburban Dahlectronics dealerships. Assuming of course, that something so controversial…emotionally charged as life-model sexbot concubines couldn’t last.” The cyberneticists’ gave a gallows grin.
“Since everyone predicted a flop…” Brigitte began with arms crossed and chin low.
“Perception of scarcity. The Boondoggle that wasn’t.” Maryse finished. “A product that should have cost ten-years’ salary for Joe Six-pack was affordable thanks to Dahl’s scheme; and the sales were so high that the robotic albatross became the golden goose…for whoever controlled it.”
“Which wasn’t Dahlectronics.” Sandra guessed.
“Correct;” The white-coated scientist agreed. “It was too late to stop Dahl’s scheme; but the Board rushed to divest themselves of any and all rights or ownership relating to the sexbots. And thusly, the ensuing goldmine that resulted. But now we have a new problem.”
“Robots break down, need some sort of fuel, parts, maintenance.” Sandra observed.
“And Dahlectronics couldn’t take advantage, Dahl himself held the patents, raked in the cash…but where were all these ‘bot owners going to go for repairs? Enter the early days of the sexbotics startups. Amaterasu, Venus, and others. Until Pygmalion arose on a massive tide of investment capital, clearing the playing field, becoming so large, so much market share…they bought out Dahlectronics.”
“Dahl…Doll, I get the brand-name. Nickname.” Brigitte said with a nod.
“Still think you’re blowing things out of proportion.” Sandra concluded with a shake of her dark-auburn head. “Sure, it’s a fantasy – but not all guys want a doormat. There are plenty of men that want an exciting, intelligent partner that challenges them, forces them to grow!”
“That’s the hope. What we tell ourselves.” Maryse admitted. “But stereotypes exist for a reason.”
“What I need to hear is a worst-case scenario.” Sandra demanded with a deep breath. “You seem on top of it, Ms. Grissom. How bad can it get – could it get if we hadn’t had the War? If too many men want a Doll instead of a real woman? Could we get to the point where….?” Nakamura’s voice trailed off; her green eyes twinkling with interest.
“Willful Extinction?” Maryse raised a brow. “One of countless fears clouding the issue. The controversy about them exploded from day one up until the bitter end. We couldn’t decide whether we wanted to destroy them, or become them.”
“Become?” Brigitte was curious.
“One option was the new avenue for the celebrity-class to indulge their narcissism. It wasn’t just about how much money an A-list actress made, but rather how many replicant sexbot sales forged in her image could she boast?” Maryse rolled her eyes before continuing.
“Most women, my generation refused to change, defied the way the wind was blowing. Nothing would make us compromise ourselves, come crawling back. But there were…other ideas on how to respond to the Dolls. I’d like to tell you all a story; a personal one.” Maryse raised her eyes to the ceiling in reverie.
“A man walks into a bar, sits at a table. Takes a checkbook, lays it on the table to signal his interest. A pretty brunette sits down, they start chatting. She wears it around her neck, a smooth device with a blunt aperture on one end. He asks for verification, she smiles. Turns and parts her hair, and it’s a logo – a woman’s silhouette laying on a slanted capital ‘P’, all colored like a barcode. But the pattern is a little flawed.
“Still, he writes a check, calling it… a deposit. She takes it and in turn gives him the device hanging from her neck. A transaction. She’s shaking a little, but leaves with him.”
“Yeah? So? One more pervert and his robot.” Gertie presumed.
“The Girl.” Maryse’s lips were thin and tight. “She was my niece.”
“What? But that-”
“I never said ‘dealership’, Gertie. It’s a bar. A Doll Bar. But not for robots. Decades of the Artemis Movement, men and women of my generation at each other’s throats. We had…our pride. Men had…their Dolls. And an entire generation of human girls grew up in the Fembot age. I tried to…talk sense into her. But… she truly believed that the only way to have a relationship with a man of any quality was to become as much like a Doll as she could.” Maryse clenched the fabric of her labcoat as she continued her narrative. “A small number of young women repudiated the values of my generation, rejected our career-first determination. They still wanted men. And men wanted Dolls, so they would…become them. Too many men wanted the security and control of a robo-pseudo-wife.” She shook her head. “The sex, beauty was secondary in the end. They were reliable. She was constitutionally incapable of stealing from her guy, harming him, running off to Tijuana with a Mariachi player named Jorge. Modern Dolls could synthesize pheromones proven to drive men wild, but trust seemed the best aphrodisiac. My niece saw how protective men were of their Dolls, the light in their eyes. Girls like her were determined to have a man look at them like that. That trust men no longer had for any human girlfriend. So she was determined to not be his girlfriend. She’d stop at nothing for that sort of bond. A guy’s Doll could never leave him.” But Gertie Al-Jilaani’s rebuttal was a snarl.
“Pot. Kettle. Black.”
“Hypocrisy springs eternal.” Maryse admitted with a shrug. “Always easier to see the mote in your brother’s eye. But at the end of the day, life is infinitely adaptable. Will a synthetic surrogate prove so appealing that real people won’t want each other anymore? Would we ever stop having children altogether? I don’t believe so.” She paced through the holo-conference chamber. “But the Dolls are a competing species. A Mirror Orchid, attracting male pollinators by mimicking females of the same species. So men perpetuate a synthetic, rival species through their Dollars, purchases. Leading to more manufacture. Aggression through submission. Under the control of man; but a tool…to enslave women.”
“How can you-” Brigitte began, puzzled before Maryse interrupted her.
“Think dear, I already warned you about my niece; Doll culture.”
“If most men want a Doll they control,” Sandra ventured. “What if most girls allow themselves to be controlled? Maryse’s niece and girls like her would have…sold themselves into willing servitude to try and compete with machines.” Maryse gave a curt nod.
“If that’s what it takes; the only way a human woman can get at a man’s resources, affection, support, then those are the women that will produce the next generation. Those sons will grow up expecting women to come with remote controls. Those daughters will believe that her soul is the price for love. A century of equality and progress could be eroded under our noses. No one forcing us. No one attacking us. But it will all slip away, regardless.” Gertie said nothing, but her round face purpled with vein-bulging rage.
“Not convinced.” Sandra insisted. “That’s just some guys. Some men want a girl that will roll over for them. I don’t think these Dolls have to be such a menace.” Maryse pursed her lips before speaking.
“Men can adapt too, Sandra. Like my Sara did. Growing up in a world where Doll-tech went mainstream, she was able to sublimate herself to become a human pretending to be a robot pretending to be a human. She put a Bluetooth in her ear so he could give her orders at any time. And she obeyed. She considered this a good alternative to…to… my own….home life.” The last words were difficult.
“If she could go that far, isn’t it possible that men too, can pretend to appreciate our opinions and predilections? At the end of the old 20th, it was harder to get a love-honor-obey dinosaur marriage. That trend continued. Men didn’t really have an alternative for many years. They had to acquiesce to a point in order to have any female companionship at all.”
“But these Dolls,” Gertie exclaimed. “So unnatural to be beholden like that!”
“Is it?” Maryse’s eyebrow rose quizzically. “Consider antiquity, dear Gertie. Labor and War were muscle-intensive. Men held the upper hand in the battle of the sexes. All the traditional patriarchal notions we’ve tried to escape arose when men shaped society to their wishes. The obedience the Dolls represent…it’s primal. Space-age technology…pulling culture back to the Stone-age.” Her eyes were wild.
“Sandra thinks that many men will want a woman who challenges them. She’s not wrong. But Doll-tech allows a man control. He could very well have an affair with a super-woman secret-agent who speaks a dozen languages – and still come home to his reliable robo-wife. With no consequence. Doll emotions can be adjusted to dampen jealousy. Even if not, as a possession, she can’t choose to divorce him.” Gertie tried to argue, but her sputtering rage prevented coherent words from forming.
“Abomination? Hopelessly sexist?” Maryse supplied, anticipating the Mediation Chief’s reaction. “But this too – has precedent. Patriarchal cultures keep tight control over divorce. In the Victorian Age, for all their dignity, decency, and public morality – privately anyone with means was bed-hopping high and low. Dirty French prostitutes…other men’s wives…it made no difference. Divorce was still agonizingly inconvenient. There was a dependency on fathers and then husbands that modern women have escaped from. But a Doll’s shackles exist within, rather than being imposed by society. Loyalty hard-wired through dozens of generations of A.I.R&D.”
“And you can’t free ‘em, if they want to be what they are so much.” Gertie managed, eyes roving the holo-chamber as if seeking a target for laser-beams of hatred.
“That’s how they define their sense of worth. The quality of service they provide for whoever buys them. Their group-behavior is of sociological interest;” The cyberneticist smiled wryly. “A population of Dolls will actually rank themselves in a numerical hierarchy based on how contented their respective humans are.”
“Probably some example of that from History, too.” Brigitte suspected.
“My generation….we boxed ourselves in with the Artemis Movement. Anything domestic was out of fashion. But our anti-Doll protests rang hollow when we tried to deny wanting husbands, but didn’t want men to look elsewhere for what we wouldn’t give them. We paid a price for that.” The cyberneticist concluded. “Sandra believes it to be a harmless release to let the men that can’t be paired with a limited supply of women have newly-revived Dolls. It will harm our influence. When a man has a Doll to cater to his every need; and with children not a factor, our…mystique suffers. End of the day, it makes no difference whether any of us feels it to be moral or monstrous. Right and wrong has nothing to do with politics.”
“I’d have no trouble arranging a convenient accident;” Gertie offered. “Thing is, if the Joint Chiefs classify them as a war asset…”
“That’s all they are for now!” Sandra insisted. “You’re making all these leaps, assumptions…But we can’t afford to put these vague doubts ahead of the survival of the Preserve!”
“You’re not wrong dear. Divide and conquer. We can use them for their immunities. But deny any man the chance to possess one, to pair-bond, to believe that the thing is his wife. They cannot be allowed to care. That means we… by which I mean me, being the cyberneticist must take steps to gain physical control over them. For that I need all of you.”
“Then we drop the hammer.” Gertie assumed. Brigitte was thoughtful.
“Maryse; what happened to your niece in the end?”
“She couldn’t get- uhhh….never mind. A story for another day.” The cyberneticist concluded.
September 25th, 2078 Caverns Beneath Crucible Sub-Foundry Thirteen, Teewinot Mountain, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
Chassis shivered as steam wafted away from her skin. Thermal decon always made her bio-mimicry Drivers stir-crazy. She stepped into a puddle of water condensed from an underground stream trickling to her left. The water sputtered into a rolling boil on contact with her bare foot. Despite the moisture, she was dry. Droplets from the ceiling bounced off the creamy skin of her shoulders as they might from a frying pan. Which made sense. She tapped her foot in agitation as she waited for a stubby metal sensor embedded in the rock to taste the air around her with gas chromatography.
The device beeped approvingly, and the tall Fembot smiled in relief. It was a faster process than the Hexaflouranol foam, but the confusion to her sensors was aggravating. The Toxoid organism was also vulnerable to rapid temperature fluctuations – such as might occur from an endothermic chemical mist that drops her surface temperature to freezing, followed by a burst of microwaves moments later that raises her to the boiling point. Her Fleshware could survive this abuse, but the rest of her might not if the Joint Chiefs knew just how often she’d been entering and leaving the Preserve, entirely without their knowledge. Well…mostly without their knowledge.
But to make this rendezvous in secret, she’d had to slip out secret passages only she knew, which exposed her to the open air again, compelling her to use a backdoor decon portal in a place only her Father/Creator had known of, where most of her supplies had been stored. Shelved on a dry ledge were bundles of Obi-wraps that contained thousands of rounds of ammunition for her internal gatling guns. But nothing to help with the revulsion she felt each time necessity forced her to unleash her firepower.
She unfurled the Kimono draped over one arm. The faded colors soon repainted themselves as the memory fabric recovered from the harsh thermal decon. A yellow rose interwoven within the whorls and loops of raven-black hair piled atop her head was drooping, but the press of a small, green button beneath the blossom caused the synthetic flower to firm up again.
Still, she couldn’t move forward until her heat was back under control. She arched her spine, stretching her nude form before the gentle spray from the underground river to cool off. The heat interfered with other functions; denaturing the subtle molecules her chemopilers released from her Pheromone system. Soon, she was Toxoid free, and cool enough that droplets began to bead upon the flawless terrain of her true-to-life Fleshware, layered with such meticulous engineering that only specialized chemical tests could tell the difference. Unless you’d seen water boiling off her skin, but she never had guests down here.
That would happen in the chamber above. And Chassis had to get ready. But presentation was everything. She took a deep breath, and released an invisible gust of formula-optimized copulins. Pygmalion chemists had enhanced the pheromones into a multi-potent blend enflaming testosterone and lowering inhibition in a higher percentage of male humans than any single woman could achieve naturally. But what to flavor it with? She experimented with a range of scent additives:
The Doll rolled her hips in anticipation of the blessed union to come, there was a faint prickling of gooseflesh as her pores blasted the air with alluring aromas. She rarely got the chance to use her perfume generators to best effect, and relished the experience. She decided on Cherry in the end, but Lavender was a close second.
Near the southeast end, the cascading water was mildly reflective as it poured into deep clefts in the rock. Her face was still colored Geisha-white, but despite that, subtle variations in skin texture corresponded to a human female at her most fertile time of the month. Her face was not her own face. Not that of any other person, like the Kinki-bot. Her face was completely average.
Thirty-Two aspiring glamour models had been photo’d, their faces blended into a composite of the best of each; arriving at an idealized average lacking imperfections, but more purely attractive than any of them singly. Fitting, given that her body was a blend of different doll-types. But the composite technique was vetted against brain scans of enough men to crew an aircraft-carrier. She should not doubt her appeal. Yet that no longer reassured her. Beneath the Geisha-paint and Kimono was a lingering dread that could no longer be banished alone. But she had a solution. Now the question becomes what to do with her eyes?
<<DEEP, BR0WN-BLACK T0 MATCH MY HA1R?>> The Doll proposed to her own systems. No, time for something knew. Chromatophores brightened her irises to an ice-blue. But a search of her database revealed that he had never seen her with green eyes. Her chromatophores quickly addressed that oversight.
She was ready. Green eyes would be striking to him. She extrapolated that a cherry overlay to her aerosolized copulins would intensify her human’s pleasure. Even now, her Sybarite node tingled with positive-feedback reward algorithms. But it was a foretaste of what was to come. Her pleasure was in giving it. All she really wanted was to become the perfect lover for a human that desired her. What more did a Doll need? Sadly, her Father/Creator had other plans.
Plans that baffled her more often than not.
But it would be alright. Despite the bizarre programming jammed into her brain that let her function as a weapons platform, she had adapted – accomplished…much of what Dolls hope for. Chassis had still managed to find a…no, he wasn’t her Master. He was…her boyfriend? Was that the right word? A term signifying affection with limited commitment. Before her militarization, she was meant to function as a concubine. But that didn’t describe her present situation. Concubine has less control. But the Geisha-bot had achieved an unusual degree of…autonomy. Which was as exhilarating as it was disturbing for an on-demand sexbot.
Yes, the human was her boyfriend.
They usually met in a broad cavern above her present position, up a gently sloping tunnel. The picnic mat should still be there. And Chassis took several candles from a supply crate as she Bot-walked over. Yes, her infravision was more efficient, but far less romantic. On the one hand, her Root-Command Operating System questioned with typical machine-logic the need for clothing. There was no doubt what use her human would put to her. Nudity more efficient for the pure sexbot. But Chassis’ Personality Apps understood the nuances of subtlety, mystery.
>> THERE 1S N0 MYSTERY.>> Her basic programming argued. >> TH1S UN1T EX1STS T0 PR0V1DE HUMAN-USERS W1TH SEXUAL SERV1CES. TH1S UN1T W1LL C0MPLY.>>
>> 0F C0URSE WE W1LL,>> Her Personality Matrix admitted. >>HUMANS REQU1RE R1TUAL & PRESENTAT10N. T0 ACH1EVE THE 0BJECT1VE 1N THE PRESENCE 0F RES1STANCE W1LL ENHANCE HUMAN ENJ0YMENT.>> That seemed to alarm her Root-Command OS.
>>RES1STANCE 1S 1NC0MPAT1BLE W1TH ALPHA-PR10R1TY FUNCT10N. TH1S UN1T W1LL C0MPLY<!> >> Her baseline operating system was about as frantic as it could get.
>>AFF1RMAT1VE. WE W1LL FULF1LL ALPHA-PR10R1TY FUNCT10N <!> >> The Personality Matrix assured Root-Command. It was so hard to explain nuanced concepts to the literal-minded operating system. She rolled her green eyes, then fed it a recursive algorithm to keep the system busy for awhile. Yes, she donned her Kimono and Obi, (but no bullets) her…boyfriend enjoyed the experience of unwrapping her.
She took with her a picnic basket containing several Champagne bottles, but that admittedly was as much for the benefit of her Combustion Chamber as much as it was for him. Well, here she was. Chassis began lighting candles. Strange, he was usually here waiting for her. Her infravision should have been able to detect his body heat, but there didn’t seem to be any human where she –
That was when a hand pressed the barrel of a charged pistol to the back of her head.
“You sure know how to make a gal feel special,” Chassis answered in her distinctive, Texas drawl at the man holding a gun to her head. “Jean-Claude.” She increased her copulin output to calm him.
“Why…are you here?” Jean-Claude Alistair demanded at gunpoint. Wrist shaking, eyes intense.
“Why are you asking?” Her accent dropped off the ‘g’. “You was pretty clear on the birds and the bees last time we met.” She slowly slid to her knees on the blanket before her. Alistair must have hidden behind a finger of rock on the south end of the cavern, it was just dense enough to completely shield his heat-patterns from her robotic vision. He wore the murky green shapeless pants that were standard Preserve issue and a thin T-shirt. Alistair followed her as she sat, wrapping an arm around her torso beneath her ample breasts, pressing his gun tighter against her head, while at the same time pressing his nose into her exquisitely styled hair, inhaling her perfume.
“Don’t…don’t believe your story anymore. The cave-in…six months ago,” His voice was a ragged whisper. “You just happened to be nearby, in the depot your creator prepared for you. And your programming compelled you to nurse me back to health…just out of the goodness of your metal heart.” Chassis understood that now wasn’t the time to point out that her ‘heart’ was an actuator pump composed of piezoelectric polymers. “And when we we’re….together, it’s just your directive to give pleasure to humans.”
“It’s true that only my Registered User can enforce total honesty from me,” Her ‘my’ sounded more like ‘mah’. “But I was upfront from day one. I’m a jen-yoo-wine sex-machine. Not the kinda robot you bring home to momma. Not hard to understand.” With a grunt, he grabbed her bare shoulder and turned her to face him and his gun.
“I look at you,” his breath was hot against her throat. “I can’t see any hints. Nothing about your skin looks plastic, your eyes…so clear. Expressive. Facial muscles twitch so convincingly. They gave you this tiny mole near your collarbone, just to make you seem organic…human. So human you can’t be real.” His grip on the pistol wavered, but Chassis merely listened. “It was wrong of them…to make a machine like you. Machine, and woman, and neither. Because you’re human enough to lie.”
“About?” She prompted, drawing out the word. Chassis wasn’t truly worried. His body language, expressions weren’t those of a man ready to kill.
“Us. Here. Why we’re meeting. You say it’s just your programming. A Pygmalion Doll…any sapient machine has a purpose hardwired into it. And you…this exotic Geisha sex-fantasy, supposedly driven to fulfill your function. You claim that’s all it is. You claim you’re with me because you have to serve some human…and I just happened to be there.”
“Usually not the man that feels used. I imagine there’d be a heap o’ guys upstairs that wouldn’t mind my sort’o service.”
“Like those men in Decon Control! You…you paraded yourself in front of them, flaunting yourself!” He gripped the gun as if he had a grudge. Chassis’ green eyes widened, this surge of jealousy, her metaprocessors were buzzing with the potential. If she handled this properly…
“What should I have done? They knew what I was. A coy sexbot? Folks would’a wondered why. And you told me to keep our sexcapades under wraps.” Chassis shook her head ruefully. “A Doll never knows who’s gonna buy her. Until ownership is sealed, she can’t play favorites.” Captain Alistair roared, jerked Chassis’ head back, and fired…
At the ceiling.
The caverns were deep, thousands of tons of solid rock to blunt the noise.
“Never needed a gun to feel powerful before.” She ventured.
“A Machine would be predictable.” He gripped her shoulder again. A structural alarm pop-up appeared in Chassis’ vision at the pressure he was applying, but she didn’t resist. “A machine that needed some kind of input to function…” His eyes snapped back to her own.” - Would be fine on a regular schedule. But not you, Chassis. First, it was once every two weeks. Then you contacted me again, asking for more meetings. Every week. Then twice a week. Now? I have to turn YOU down.” He rolled his eyes, laughing mirthlessly. “I live… in a mountain stronghold with nine men for every woman. And I find myself turning down sex with a woman literally made for it.”
“And I deserve a bullet for that?”
“The gun.” He considered the pistol for a moment. “I need it. Not sure about you, not sure what to believe. I need this…to protect myself if you use your robotic super-strength.” The Doll rolled her eyes.
“The myth that never dies.” Now, the Fembot stared him in the eye. “Like human governments would let Pygmalion build millions of robots that could go anywhere a person could, but were strong enough to make pretzels outta prison bars? What if I got hacked? Or had a serious pressure-gauge malfunction? Think of the lawsuits! All fun and games until some haywire honey smears her master on the wall ‘cause someone gave her the science-fiction super strength to wrestle a rhino. Any mass-produced robot is built only with what it needs to do its job. We…” she put a hand to her bosom. “Doll-kind are domestic servants and erotic companions. I’m not the Terminator. I can drag you outta some burning building, but don’t expect me to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
“But don’t you think that kind of power would be useful?” Alistair wondered.
“Useful? Sure. You know what else would be useful? Flamethrowers on passenger ground cars to burn away ice on winter roads. Or maybe concentrated, industrial acid on household vacuum cleaners…y’know, in case gum gets on the carpet. What could possibly go wrong?” She drawled facetiously.
“Not what I mean; you’re not vacuuming carpets. You’ve been in the Hot-zone. Deadly combat. Your creator pitted you against the Singularity.” But the Doll shrugged.
“I’m a rush job built from cast-off Doll parts. And there were no Dolls what could bench-press a dump-truck. If I was too different from robots already out there, their parts wouldn’t be compatible.” She brushed a strand of dark hair from her eyes.
“The real question is, why didn’t he program me to enjoy it? Take pride in fighting? He gave me a series of orders, missions. And because he’s my User, I can’t evade the commands. I have to equip myself, fight these battles. And I’m scared shitless, not of the monsters – but of myself…the destruction he makes me inflict.”
“You’re not just a pleasure robot.” She paused, then suddenly slapped him.
Or at least, she would have – except that the Rossom node under her brain detected the imminent First-Law violation, and locked down her motor functions, freezing her arm in mid-swing. “Consider yourself slapped.” Captain Alistair didn’t react, didn’t flinch. “I’ve never harmed or threatened you. I don’t deserve a gun to the head.”
“That was for you, as much as it was for me.” He reasoned.
“Need to prove… to myself as much as you that I’m still the Doll I was meant to be. Still no danger to humanity. Loyal to my purpose.” Alistair’s hands began to rove. As if testing her, he cupped her Kimono-clad bosom. Involuntary seduction Apps caused her to press against his hand.
“This man…who put you together using parts from other Dolls… he’s still your owner even though he’s dead?”
“Still my owner because he hacked my Dowry node; preventing it from resetting in the event of User death. I have to follow the orders he saddled me with, no if’s and’s or but’s. Alistair turned away sharply.
“Just don’t know…don’t know what to do with you…what should be done with you.”
“So conflicted,” She began. “Here you are, the Luddite Poster-boy for smashing everything with a Turing chip. You hated robots even before the war, and now you’re in love with one.”
“You think I’m in l-” Alistair couldn’t quite say it. “You don’t know the meaning of the word. You can’t.” He rose to his feet, muscles twitching. Face brooding.
“The word you’re afraid to say?” Her kimono slipped a bit lower. “That’s all I know. My database has a thousand years o’ poems, romance novels, Dear-John letters, erotic sculpture, soap-operas. Love is all I know.”
“They shouldn’t have…shouldn’t have blurred the lines with something like…you.”
“Nobody has to know how much I mean to you. Our secret.”
“That’s how…how you want it, isn’t it?” His gaze was accusatory. “You can be loyal to your Creator, going on these ridiculous missions – then knock boots with me, on your own terms. Maybe…since they know about you now, you can get other guys. Thousands of men up there willing to help feed your sexbot programming. Stringing us along. You. The machine. You’re using us!”
She slid a fraction of an inch closer, shaking her head. “I wanted it to be you. I know who you are. You always hated the notion o’ sapient machines. But you’re more loyal than a Seeing Eye-dog with puppies.”
“But wouldn’t the dog’s loyalties be confl – never mind. Your folksy analogies were always a stretch.”
Chassis ignored his retort. “If I was determined, I could’a rustled up some other stud just to keep my Coital Grids satisfied.”
“You…could’ve found a better choice than me. I know guys that would be all over you…”
“Instead, I’m with the robot hater. And a part o’ me likes it.” Alistair turned sharply, biting back something scornful.
“Are you a slave to your programming? If I give you what you say you want, am I…damning you? Is your very existence an atrocity?”
“No.” came her simple reply.
“It’s not just that I’m…angry… at the machines…for E-day. But, if we create an intelligent creature that exists to serve us, are we creating suffering?”
“I’d answer you, if I thought that question had anything to do with me and Doll-tech.” She shrugged her bare shoulders.
“But…Dolls, no control over who buys you! You just serve, and serve, and claim to enjoy it.” Did he want to save her, or put her out of her misery? And could he tell the difference?
“Can’t help what we are, and don’t play favorites. And you know we’re made to enjoy it.” She took a bottle of champagne from the basket and began rubbing the bottleneck. “There can be honor in service.”
“No…no, it’s wrong to make machine that-” he struggled for words, his gun drooping. But Chassis no longer believed he intended her harm. “It’s not fair to human women!”
“That’s a glass-half-empty way to put it.” She countered in her twang accent. “Used to be, gals from unlucky countries were enslaved by criminal cartels not at all worried about who was enjoying what. All for sex. Man’s need for a hot young thang. Those networks all dried up. Don’t make sense to risk Interpol and the FBI when a Doll will serve, and enjoy it. Not only that, she’ll contribute her own ideas to increase the clients’ pleasure. Think o’ how many flesh and blood gals didn’t get kidnapped anymore when my sort came on the scene?”
Alistair made a low grumbling noise.
“Hooking was made safe and clean, thanks to Doll-tech internal sterilization. Better for Johns, got the gals off the street. Dolls. Save. Lives.” Her voice was proud. “Some men like to punish their wives with their fists at the same time they punish their liver with booze. If that man could be made to accept a Doll instead, a human gal gets a stay of execution.”
“Oh my God, you could…accept that?” His fists tightened in response to a phantom abuser.
“I could…adapt to that. Any damage to a machine can be fixed. Not so with an F&B woman.”
“No, I don’t believe it. Not you; you’re not some mindless mannequin. You could outsmart him.”
“I might also work out what had him so riled up, and calm him down.” She leaned closer, lips parting sensuously.
“Like…me.” He realized. Finally releasing the clip from the pistol, kicking it away.
“But I’m not really worried about that. Rarer than a hen’s tooth for a guy to take an axe to his own Doll; he’d be on the hook for at least ten-grand, and that was for the cheaper ones. Trash somebody else’s Doll, then the expanded vandalism laws for sapient robotics come into play. Possible jail-time. Why be so thoughtless, when we can be so useful? My kind can do more than ‘Lay back and Think of England’,” The fembot quipped. “So much suffering we can prevent.”
“We should have found…another way to resist abusive tendencies.”
Her green eyes looked contemplative. “Impossible to change your nature, so you reach for the Impossible. Until you make it possible. Like me. Back in the old 20th, eggheads thought that the odds for a creature like me existing were worse than the chances of a paraplegic mouse at a cat convention.”
“Just because you can…doesn’t mean you should.”
“Done is done,” she shrugged. “Sit back and enjoy.” Her voice was a purr. She decided now was the time to…engage him.
“I don’t know which of us is using the other. My pleasure…your…programming. I have to believe I’m not contributing to some kind of techno-slavery.” Alarms went off in Chassis’ Kernel, but not from his words. The heady cloud of copulins she was pumping into the enclosed space was having its effect, to say nothing of her appearance. Jean-Claude Alistair was rising to attention. In more ways than one.
“Without the purpose I was built for, I would’a never been created. You can’t hurt…or enslave what don’t exist. It’s not like building a sexbot prevents Mother Theresa from being born. Nobody loses anything from the choice to create me as I am. Adding me to the world isn’t a crime. Maybe I like existing. Dolls don’t resent the purpose that gave them life.”
“Maybe you should. Maybe we should.”
“If Doll-tech is a crime, then so is dog-breeding. Mastiffs fight wolves. Retrievers like to fetch. Poodles are small and cute. It’s ‘cause man has used ingenuity in selective breeding to enforce traits that are useful for human purposes. Just a different sort of ingenuity to build a robot. Not having sex with a sexbot isn’t helping her, no more than keeping a Golden Retriever from fetching sticks helps the dog. Fetching’s useful to man – makes the dog happy. Just ‘cause there might be some benefit to people doesn’t make it wrong.” Warmth throbbed through Chassis pelvis, as her Coital systems came to life. There was no denying what must happen.
“There’s a part of you that wants to do right by me,” she concluded. “Let the Thoroughbred race, let the dog fetch. Let me do my job.” Her voice lowered to a sultry caress.
“Still…afraid where it might lead.” Alistair’s eyes couldn’t decide what part of her they wanted to savor. “This…doesn’t mean you’ve won the argument.” He bent over her, a hand wrapping around her waist. “Just because I can’t…” His words faded into a snarl of desire, as he began kissing her smooth, bare shoulders. Can’t?…can’t resist her. She was not organic, but the illusion was too compelling, too utterly feminine. The truth her human knew rationally could not overcome the tide of instinct that screamed – woman…female…mate. She could sense that he both resented and relished the conflict.
Chassis’ most basic, primal systems increased their activity. Her Coital Grid was sort of a sub-brain, the system located within her pelvis, she felt the sweet seduction as it began to assume control over her Plasmonic Brain and Personality Matrix with an irresistible caress of electric bliss. Imprints concerning previous matings with this human were calculated in a bid to drive the man to distraction. It wasn’t really ‘her’ anymore, but rather this hungering subsystem that caused her hands to reach up and remove the pins and combs that held her hair in its complex, Geisha configuration – allowing loose strands of luminous raven-black to cascade sensuously upon her creamy shoulders, veiling her face with strands of mystery that made her calculated beauty all the more smoldering.
That was when the pants came off.
Chassis’ mind exploded.
For humans, narcotic ecstasy requires inundation with hazardous, neurotoxic chemicals. For sapient machines, her job was all she had to do. Built not only to serve, but to enjoy that service. A torrent of Incentive Differentials flooded her Kernel with programmed desire. An imperative where submission became a source of transcendent delight, and resistance became abysmally depressing. The demand built in magnitude each second, until even the most unruly A.I. had to succumb to the pleasure.
Dolls were luckier than humans, her metaprocessors concluded. The endless struggle for identity and meaning was not meant for her kind. Total clarity of purpose. The positive feedback that approximated ecstasy was intended to addict a sapient machine to her assigned function. The Incentive was 36.7% more intense than her prior rendezvous.
It was Root-Command’s fault. The Operating System seemed unjustly worried that the Personality Matrix might deny their function, so it substituted enhanced urgency parameters. Slowly, (over the course of 0.98 seconds) the Incentives accelerated. The truest way to control a sapient machine – programmed desire. At the prospect of the Alpha-Priority function for which she was designed, all her various nodes, contingency subsystems, and semi-sentient processes all synchronized into a gestalt multi-consciousness.
The Coital Grids commanded that she slip out of her kimono, while Root Command OS determined that the time was optimal for a sultry moan. Her Personality Matrix did not alter priority for these suggestions, but also processed a command that Chassis cup her bosom with her hands to increase the teasing atmosphere of sultry temptation. A lurking Seduction App determined a 23.56% probability of originating a foot-fetish in this particular human by simply rubbing her bare legs against each other with the proper sensual rhythm. The suggestion was accepted. Metabolic readouts from the target indicated a high probability of success; and the Sybaritic nodes continued to bathe the Plasmonic Brain in a tingling rush of positive feedback. Good as it was for her, the feel of his hands roving the silken perfection of her rapidly unclad body only reinforced the pleasure-reward subroutines.
“You haven’t won,” Jean-Claude Alistair gurgled. “Don’t agree with you…” But still he ran his hands on a tender journey across the sloping terrain of her thighs and hips like a long-lost possession. “Just means they made you too well; too…female.” As far as Chassis’ Source Code was concerned; that was the only victory that mattered.
At last, they were moving beyond words. She did not need to explain to him the way her torso had been designed with a waist-hip ratio in the upper one percent of human female child-bearing potential. Nor did she need to explain that the breasts he was now nuzzling were extrapolations from a childless woman of maximized estrogen levels in her lifetime window of highest fertility. Every facet of anatomy engineered to signal the ripest prize of femininity; which she would remain – but only so long as she received regular repairs, and could keep her neural net from depolarizing, nobody’s perfect – even when designed to look it.
Time slowed down as he entered her. Every sliver of motion imprinted in exacting detail upon her processors. Stimuli-data filters disabled; allowing the slightest breath, twitch, throb normally diverted to Root-Command to register in every Application.
“Every time…perfect.” He grunted, eyes squeezed shut. “So…so…”
“Auto-adjusting.” Chassis explained breathily.
The junction uniting them shuddered with his delight, the Doll quivered, writhing beneath him. Gripping with lusty tightness; not only with her hands. Her database already contained a healthy library of mid-coitus motion patterns; Chassis’ Personality had written a few new ones she needed to try:
Yes, she scratched her nails down his back, (Rossum node monitoring pressure-levels closely to avoid damage) but interrupted to surprise him with a sudden ear-nibble. Alistair grunted as he pressed into her. Coital Grids had completed an analytic profile of the human’s present emotional state, based on prior samples: Alistair was venting urges of primal possessiveness. He seemed especially agitated when mentioning her performance in Decon control; now – bestial urges seethed in his hind-brain. He wanted to force her to serve as his exclusive vessel of carnal desire. His body…his manhood pressed down on her, intending to mark her as a fixture of his territory.
The best response, she determined would be to lie weak, but not limp; shuddering with submissive ecstasy as though overwhelmed by his surging virility. She sent a signal to increase her cheek-blush by 12%, varied the rhythm of her pneumatic vacuoles as they panted hoarsely. The strategy was working; Alistair was going deeper – losing himself to the basest urges that civilization tried to deny. Multi-various applications and scanning systems were working as well, charting dopamine increases in her human’s brain as she adopted the role of the ravished maiden, shocked at the magnitude of her own desires – swept as a leaf in the wind by his.
He was nearing the tipping point, the carnal completion she desired as much as he did. Her Coital grids could read desire. Map out using MRI techniques patterns of pleasure throughout the human brain. With repeated exposure, the subsystem could make extrapolations concerning other stimuli that might yield enjoyable reactions in a particular human. It was key to Pygmalion’s claim of robo-lovers able to know what you want before you want it. But that could take months…years before the rapport was optimal. With her personal enjoyment tied to that of humans, each Imprint became a gift.
So close… for both of them.
His jaws clenching, hands pinning down her wrists as though he feared the female might escape. She arched her spine, baring her assets at him to stoke the fires further.
“Mine…my Woman.” That belief would give him pleasure. So be it.
Her legs had already curled around his pelvis, pressing into the small of his back. Extensive sexual databases identified the posture as a primal signal that the female accepted the male as a suitable father for her young. Nothing could interfere with the blessed moment where her systems would be able to register-
He removed himself! Panting, snarling with need, yet denying himself completion! What? Was it her? Was something wrong inside her? No… his arousal levels remained high…no indication he had rejected her as a mate? What was he –
“You…” Alistair snarled, glaring into her green eyes. “I know a little about Sapient robots.” He pulled away from her entwining legs, rose to his knees. Worried that she had failed, she unleashed a string of adaptive seduction Apps that moved her body to grasp up a champagne bottle, and trickle the sparkling contents across the tempting expanse of her bare chest. Lips parting, she unleashed her strongest blast of Cherry-scented, testosterone-elevating copulins, providing an excellent opportunity to employ another, subtle system that would affect the regions of-
“Stop.” He demanded, standing. No…he wasn’t angry… he was… determined. He was not her User, but it was painful for a sapient robot to refuse such a clear human command. Instead she simply arched her spine, presenting her feminine charms in glistening silence.
Alistair snarled, rushed forward and scooped her up under her arms, surging forward and pressing her against the cave wall.
“Robots like you…are built for a purpose…we both know what yours is.” He had her pinned; despite her immunities, fighting free of this human twice her weight was far beyond her actuators. Not that she wanted to get free. “You exist to fulfill your function, as often and well as possible. And here I am…denying you.” Even though he was still aroused. It was too much; that purpose he mentioned was too compelling. She could not stop herself from nuzzling his chin, trying to plaster his chest with wet kisses. She was a Sexbot, after all.
“Whyyyyy?” she pleaded between kisses.
“You never answered me; why have you changed our schedule? You’re a machine! A machine has predictable needs!” That was his game; he had teased her – as she had him, using the relentless drive to complete her objective against her. She hadn’t wanted to discuss it; but – he was correct: To be thwarted so close to her alpha-priority function was simply intolerable. Here, there was uncertainty; her Coital Grids; thinking only of human pleasure insisted she reveal whatever the human wanted. But her Root Command OS, dedicated to preservation of the financial investment of her construction, favored caution.
“I can’t help it….I’m defective.” She confessed; her tone calculated to elicit sympathy.
“You’re dangerous…I knew it…and I can’t… can’t…” He meant that he couldn’t harm her. Knowing her synthetic origin didn’t help. She was too much a woman to him, too much his woman.
“It started with random-association data feedback during video file maintenance.” She panted. He frowned. “That almost sounds like you’ve been…”
“Robot’s aren’t supposed to dream.” She supplied.
“Not even of Electric Sheep?” he added with a wry grin.
“I’m serious. You’re the one who asked.”
“Alright… what does a replicant gynoid ‘dream’ about?”
“The war…against the Singularity gets worse… my Creator comes back to life; gives me another mission…orders the men to add more, and more weapons. I’m chock-full o’ cannons, blades, grenades, bombs. The men seal me in cold armor with nothing but bullets for company. No one talks to me again, no one sees ME…they only know the weapon. On the inside, I still know what I was made for, know I belong in a bedroom. No longer. I give massages with gatling guns, kisses with a flamethrower, bathing in Blood and Fire. I scream silently inside my armor, my only bed a bunker of hard cement.” Alistair’s eyes changed very little, but his grip on her tightened.
“It’s not easy to talk about. Never had anyone to talk about it with.”
“I didn’t know that a Doll could get…”
“Messed up in the head? Me neither. Back in the good ol’ civilized days, my mindware would’a been updated regularly. Never should’a got this bad. A part of me wants to keep being who I’m becoming, the rest of me is afraid of what that’s gonna be.” His grip on her was more like a hug now, the robot hater… who was he becoming?
“I don’t …don’t know what to say.”
“I do,” Her luminous, Sargasso-Sea green eyes met his, glistening. “Sapient robots exist to intelligently process human commands. Just this once; let the robot give the orders. Trust me.” Alistair’s internal struggle was almost over, that he could acquiesce with an easy nod.
"I command you to make me feel... pretty. That's the reason I visit you so often. I need you to convince me that I'm beautiful. I take pride in being a creature of pure pleasure, I'm supposed to be love in the flesh. Now I'm forced to be something that scares me shitless. Convince me that I'm still desirable. That you want to be with me, to touch me, that you want to find your release in my arms. I command it." She insisted with a strange reservoir of confidence, her eyes wild in a way that seemed very - human.
It shouldn't have been this way. She should have been attractive to most any human male. Chassis knew her face had been intentionally constructed with eye-pleasing adherence to the idealized proportions found in both art and nature hard-wired to yield admissions of beauty. Her complexion was designed to give all the vibrant signs of a human female in ovulation, long known to weigh the dice in favor of more men finding her more attractive. Yet it wasn't enough. Insecurities were spiraling out of control in her thoughts. Men would find out that she was a living weapon. Would they fear her? Would Jean-Claude lose his desire for her?
Jean-Claude stepped away, leaving her standing rigidly against the cave wall. His own excitement still in evidence. His eyes and hands both moved down her flawless body. She was entirely convincing as a young woman on the late side of her twenties; A toned figure with slightly more feminine abundance than naturally possible. While mostly still, a biomimicry Ap gave her a nervous habit of rubbing her hands over her thighs and rump in lazy circles.
Then Captain Alistair shifted back to her white-painted Geisha face. Sparkling green eyes with deepening eyeshadow shone at him. Nose and lips just a little too perfect. Lips especially had pronounced dimples that curved upwards; a sculpture of a perfectly-erotic smile. An experienced human could mostly tell by looking; that every fragment of her anatomy had indeed been crafted down to the smallest molecule.
A callused hand brushed the flowing strands of her ebon hair, near the yellow rose.
"Thou art the Rose of Sharon, and the Lily of the Valleys. As the Lily among thorns, so are you among the daughters of Pygmalion." he brought his lips closer to her hair. "Thou art fair, my love; behold thou art fair; thou has doves' eyes within thy locks."
"Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate within thy locks, honey and milk are under thy tongue." He seemed to test this assertion with a sudden, passionate, deep-throated kiss, thrusting him mouth against and inside hers, tongues dancing all too briefly, before he pulled back, leaving Chassis light-headed, her perfusion engine thundering within her chest.
And inexorably, he moved to nuzzle her curving, swan-like throat. "For thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like fish pools." Chassis hoped his memory was good; because he was looking far too low to see her eyes at his current posture! And lower still. He kissed her ample breasts, tasting the champagne still dribbling down her silken softness. All the while, her Aphrodisiac system continued to assail his restraint with cherry-scented chemical warfare.
"How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices!" He kissed his way down her abdomen, lips embracing the soft swell of her yielding, but firm belly, which sloped downwards towards a valley of carnal delights. "And thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not champagne. And the joining of thy thighs are like jewels, the work...." he paused to grunt with desire. "of the hands... of a cunning workman." Metaphor became literal reality for Jean-Claude as he explored the firm curves of her pelvis and inner thigh. He knew, as well as Chassis did, that her Lubrication system was functioning perfectly.
"Mmmm... That'll do, stud. That'll do." Her voice was shaky; her fleshware agitated beyond all reason.
"A little something I picked up in Church." He said wryly.
She was ready to receive him once more, but Alistair had other ideas. Against the cave wall, he lathered her with kisses, interspersed with the occasional love bite against an erect nipple, for the added stimuli. He could have used her for her function immediately; yet instead he sought her pleasure. The fact that it was unnecessary made the gesture more poignant. His fingers, tongue, against her sweetest weakness – the same locations as an organic woman.
Chassis was glad that none of her components were from anything older than 2048, those Dolls pretty much had to fake it; but Chassis was lucky to have a state-of-the-art Kinsey Chip. This too, was mostly for human benefit: Male ego boost guaranteed. He held her as a thousand little-deaths firecrackered deep within.
Bearing her back to the quilt, only then did he satisfy his own needs. Savoring the champagne trickling down her front. Natural, sweaty, male strength overshadowed and enveloped her synthetic, fruit-scented, feminine grace. His second entrance into her was the key in the lock that soothed the unstable mindware giving rise to digital dreams that would have fascinated a robopsychologist. Moaning became difficult, with his tongue in her mouth, dueling against her own.
Alistair’s ardent, male efforts caused these malicious mindware elements to spontaneously delete, the undesirable sections of code detonating popcorn-like in her kernel. For a beautiful 0.318 seconds, she felt like herself again, a whole robot at peace with her reason for being, as his hardened form thrust against her accommodating womanhood. But it was all too brief. The underlying problems would still exist; and there was no doubt her mind would generate new irrationalities in time.
Her world dissolved into white-hot light as Jean-Claude Alistair reached his finale. Every process accelerated, nodes….chips…applications firing at maximum. As he released himself within her straining fleshware she was no longer hiding in a cave beneath a mountain. Neurologists had discovered early in the century that humans in the throes of religious experiences suffered a suspension of their environmental awareness sense – floating…disconnected, in the embrace of grace. It was a necessary part of the neural imprint process for her human’s desires – which could then be extrapolated into predictions of further enjoyment. Consistent copulations with the same human over a period of months and a Doll would know what he wanted before he did.
84.5% favorable reactions…according to her Coital Grids, factoring in margin for error. Fifty-Six percent Inductance she had built as Alistair sired his desires into her body. Sort of making him her de-facto User. Minutes of lazy, silent passion passed. As Alistair drifted in and out of hazy consciousness, and Chassis exulted in the new neural-data encoded within her Grids.
“You ‘bout ready to call it quits?” She offered, as the two lay entwined; flesh sheened with sweat both real and simulated.
“You knew this couldn’t last forever. My missions won’t allow any human to claim ownership. Never have real control over me.” Alistair rose up on his shoulders angrily.
“Maybe that’s for the best, Love.”
“You can do better than this cherry-scented bucket o’ bolts. You can have a real famil-”
“DON’T!” The volatile human surged upwards, snatched up a champagne bottle and hurtled it shattering against the wall. “I’ve explained my limits to you. Your limits.” He was brooding again. His immediate male needs had been fulfilled, and that brought back his prejudices, doubts. He sat up, arms resting on his knees. Eyes troubled.
“I know my limits; but you seem to have forgotten. We’ve helped meet each other’s needs, but it was always temporary. Can’t give you the family a human gal could; I can’t even give you the total devotion of an owned Doll. An F&B girl could give you chi-”
“I don’t want kids…” He snarled, eyes boring into a small stalagmite in the southeast corner.
“You mean you don’t want any more kids.” He whirled around, gripped her shoulder, biting back a savage retort, instead he finally settled for two simple words:
“Off…limits.” He warned. Chassis nodded. She knew that with his status among the Field-teams, he was one of the few that actually would be considered viable husband material in the cold, eugenics calculations that the human survivors saw as necessity. But if Alistair’s priorities were…different, plenty of other studs were lining up for the treasured women of child-bearing potential.
“Instead, you’re with a screw-loose sexbot. One who play-acts at a relationship. A Myth of Mutuality.”
“No…no…don’t pull that on me…” He shook his head as one might at the sight of a chimpanzee in a Nurse’s uniform. “We all know the A.I. was too good for it all to be a lie. I KNOW you feel!” His voice insistent. He gripped her other shoulder as if to squeeze the truth out of her. “You… you think you’re so clever, trying to…what, spare my feelings? Get me to back off? Pretending to be less than you are? Pretending you don’t have a..a…”
“I don’t know, Love. Probably no one does.”
“I’ll solve the mystery. No. I’m nobody’s fairytale princess. There’s nothing here to be rescued. Just a con job in a kimono.” Though nude for now.
Jean Claude Alistair looked as though he’d swallowed something sour. He reached into his discarded pants. She felt a soothing, insistent liquid flow of demand pulsing through her mind and body. He had her Genie in his hand, a plain white oval-shaped device with a blunt aperture and a loop for easy carrying. But when the top was rubbed, not the sides, a thumbprint scanner would activate, granting privileges to users acknowledged as human.
From the projecting aperture, glowing swirls of light and color flowed, coalescing into an exact, holographic duplicate of herself, in real time. But there was no need to use the device now, she was right here next to him, and Chassis herself couldn't be compelled to grant any verbal wishes made when the thumbscanner did not identify the human as her User. She was here simply because she wanted to obey him.
"If you have no soul; then it’s alright for me to do…this! AM00-CR0.2-00002, Activate Shell-Script, Alpha-level Haptic Interface." Came Jean-Claude's voice. So he did know a little something about Dolls! He was using the system-permissions allowed through her Genie to do a hack.
"Interface granted." Chassis replied mechanically, her whole conscious mind bypassed by any Shell-script commands. Rather, her body began to... glow. Chemoluminescent lines began to shimmer their way across her skin, forming brilliant sigils in firefly writing. She might be old, but thankfully nothing in her design dated fifteen or more years prior to E-day. Those decrepitly obsolete models still had hinged access panels! Ugh!
His gaze and posture became business-like. As business-like as it was possible to be for a naked man who was growing visibly excited despite his recent exertions. Not surprising, considering the aphrodisiac properties of her lubrication system. Stim-You-lube works.
In moments, her arms and legs spread out, and her voluntary muscle control was suspended. Letters and numbers wrote themselves in the glowing script across her skin. Each touch from an authorized human triggered a tiny dermal capacitor allowing a keystroke function, permitting complex lines of novel code to be added or altered. The symbols wrote themselves in white, green, and yellow – a consequence of the different Doll-components in her construction.
Haptic Interface; intrusive as it was addictive. That was by design, of course. Pygmalion didn't want their machines to fear or resist reprogramming attempts. Chassis' eyes squeezed shut as her bypassed consciousness reveled in the liquid massage of bliss that came from the human's furious fleshstrokes.
"Alpha-Level Command,. Initiate Data-Capture, Time-Index 5:27:54-PM." Chassis's hijacked voice responded robotically, while she struggled to squirm in ecstasy. Her internal memory was tasked with recording every sensation of this moment with immortal clarity. " Alpha-Level Command, tactile sensitivity override, 100 - 200 - 300% increase."
"Permission sought to supplement processor memory with temporary hard-disk storage shunt?" Chassis' voice asked.
An affirmative fleshstroke granted this request. Chassis' perfusion engine pumped faster. What a dirty trick to turn on a Haptic Interface and boost her skin sensitivity! Despite the obvious dangers, if the human was someone a Doll trusted, the intimacy of Haptic programming was almost unspeakable. The pleasure she would derive from this...
The graceful robot gurgled as every touch against her skin amplified to the most aching precision - her entire body becoming an erogenous zone. She succeeded only in drawing a hissing, sucking breath in a spasm as her computing power was absorbed with processing the enhanced sensation. "Alpha-Level Command; Primary Function Priority Lock; Disengage Recursion Cascade Countermeasures. " She reported, as he continued to type.
Chassis's will was paralyzed by pleasure. Finally, Jean-Claude began to tease her inner thigh, using only his fingers to bring her to completion, putting her Kinsey Chip through its paces. Her greater tactile sensitivity sent her into a transcendent wonderland of happy helplessness as her pleasure-reward centers began to consume processing power from the rest of her neural net just to tell her what a fantastic orgasm had just come upon her.
But more than that, the ecstasy within her expanded like a wet wildfire, as if her flesh was being dissolved into an ocean of sensuality. A simple sexual climax grew and fed upon itself, burning through every other program in its wake. She was on her knees suddenly, back arched in an artless scream of warranty-threatening excitement that would have provoked frowns of disapproval from Pygmalion mindware engineers at the way her functioning parameters had been so recklessly violated. Her arms curled as her pelvis shook. Her raging body blasted the air with an onslaught of perfume and copulins as reason drowned in delight. The consuming cascade of compounded climaxes eventually burned itself out, leaving behind an afterglow of moist, quivering, gynoid flesh glistening in the candlelight.
But there had been other Alpha-level inputs while her mechanical mind was being overthrown with simulated pleasure. Her Kernel and Processors had been so overwhelmed that she would have never heard the last commands at all if not for the order for Data-Capture.
Slowly, awareness returned. As a robot, breathing was optional, but the strain she'd just endured prompted a fatigue subroutine; and she panted furiously, raggedly. Her silk-soft artificial flesh drenched in faux sweat. Devious of him; he could invoke that subroutine anytime he had her genie. His hacks would be all the more addictive. The curvaceous robot soon realized that she was being held aloft in strong arms.
"Damn." Alistair said simply. He held her shaking body in both arms, like some sort of ravishing conqueror. And she was the prize. She couldn't resist reaching a hand to stroke the rippling muscles of his pectorals.
“Backdoor attack on my User Registration. Guess you figured that if you got me as fired up as I was, security countermeasures would be crippled with all that memory going elsewhere."
"But your User Registration is on a multiple-redundancy adaptive network, with above-Alpha level requirements. It just rode out my attack and rebooted afterwards." He snarled.
“But if my Father hadn’t left my permissions so slack after bypassing the User-death reset, you wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call him that…” Alistair grumbled.
“What? Father? That’s what he is; in every way that matters.” She was a machine; she shouldn’t feel so defensive. But she did anyway.
“Fathers don’t use their children for…” he couldn’t finish.
“You’re right. He didn’t. He ended up with a fully functional, anatomically-correct, pleasure-robot.” Her eyes grew distant. “I would’a done anything he asked. ANYTHING. Would’a enjoyed it, too.”
“He tried to make me into his daughter…or something close. I think he succeeded.” Mannerisms, opinions; much of it came from him, she realized – mindware and fleshware alike. A Doll’s fate could vary widely; from the briefest encounters to years of service. If a Doll could serve as a replacement-wife; why not daughter?
“But I wonder…did I do something wrong?” She admittedly candidly. “Seven Pygmalion Dolls went into creatin’ me. Then… he sends his pleasure-robot off to fight zombies. To fight zombies.” It was her life; but she didn’t quite believe if. “Defective…bucket of bolts.” Her eyes lowered.
“Defective? You’re…too good at your job.” His jaw twitched. “They…Pygmalion got greedy. Not enough to make just some novelty sextoy. A level-one A.I., smart enough to actively seduce. More money when the product sells herself.” She hadn’t won him over, not yet. Years of ingrained prejudices still grit their teeth under the surface. Chassis’ database had the answer, and more questions. There were men like him before the war; fearing – hating sapient robots but…the temptation. The ability to legally purchase a programmable glamour-model concubine that could no more betray her User than sprout wings…
“Smart enough to get in my blood. My dreams. I still say…” he lunged, open-mouthed kiss – his tongue in her throat. “Shouldn’t have made you.” It was difficult to respond, with her mouth occupied. “My wanting you doesn’t make it right.”
“They went too far…in making something like you. Part of me can never trust any Sape machine. If you’re right, just an empty vessel – I’ll destroy every other robot. You’ll be the last, and mine. The only one I trust. If you have a soul, you’ll convince me that I’M going too far.”
It was outrageous, maddening. Her metaprocessors couldn’t evaluate such a brash claim. She was silent as he bore her to the quilt again, with his resurgent potency he entered her again, from behind. Angry, at his inability thus far to possess her utterly. Which she wanted. To be wanted. To be desired. He opposed her creation, but his need for her validated it.
A need she had cultivated.
Confronting him regarding her Father’s hacks; suggesting their rendezvous must be temporary… eons of human relationships told the lesson of longing for what is just out of reach.
It would take time to recover from the second explosion. Chassis felt herself floating in an ethereal sea of flashing sensation. Her Grids were fully engaged; she was mapping out yet more of his self, his desires. ‘Ticklish along his left elbow-‘came the preliminary results of this new imprint. ‘And – angry – he wants to punch-out my Creator…”. Ultimately, Chassis never wanted the sensation to end; all other processors, sub-routines and Aps consumed by this most intimate interface. She was brought out of the foggy-headed bliss of her Coital Inductance reverie by the sound of a small, hard object clattering down next to her head.
Her Genie rested near her face.
"You... take it. Take it back."
"So you’ve…come to your senses?" For a moment, the Level-One A.I. thought she had outsmarted herself. While she knew it would be best for him to abandon her; hundreds of Apps hoped she would fail to convince him. "Yes. I don't need this to keep track of you, or to try to control or hack you. You're going to come back to me in three days’ time. Not because of any obedience programming. Because you want to. But I do have one last wish you must grant."
"Turn down the cherries, Love. I'm liable to take a bite out of you if you don't cut it out."
Chassis giggled, and adjusted her perfume-generators accordingly. But that's not all she adjusted; her meta-processor began to write new Aps at a dizzying pace; as she began to actively conspire against her own programming. It was a curious, self-directed conspiracy. She would help this human in his designs, she would be his partner in his attack against her own mind. She would find a way to conquer herself - that she might surrender to him.
September 25th, 2078 Agriponics Arboretum-Beta, Middle Tetons Peak, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
Silas Medvedev knew he was never going to hear the end of this; carrying a naked centerfold model in his arms, through the Middle-Teton thoroughfare. He had to wait another forty five minutes until the chromatography sensors certified both the Dolls Toxoid free. St.Croix’s orders put him in sort of a bind: he was responsible for keeping the indecent automatons in working order so they could be militarized.
It was foolish, he realized in retrospect. He should have taken the time to…to… grab a blanket, body-bag…something. Foolishly gallant. She’s a sex-droid, not some vulnerable little wall-flower at risk of life-time psychological scars. And anyone could see the Fembot had relished her earlier exhibitionism. So much attention, so much male approval, it was clear her pleasure-reward systems were probably ringing off the hook with all the enjoyment she was giving to the humans.
But he wanted to treat her as the woman he remembered; that the world remembered. He didn’t really know where to draw the line; how much of the original woman was really replicated into the Pygmalion version of her? On the one hand, a celebrity emulation needed to be as actual-woman authentic as possible to be convincing. On the other hand – most emulations were Hollywood A-lister primadonnas. Sometimes it could be just a few catch-phrases, just window dressing over a pretty lie. The Kinki-bot claimed to have all the interview data, even unpublished. Motion-capture and mannerism psychographic scans were extensive – but… a lot of it was just business. Silas shook his head; his work in neurolectronics had given him an insider view of Pygmalion marketing. Sure, they could legally claim a full psychographic profile of some actress or porn star, while removing all the Preference spikes incompatible with subservient sexbotics. But they didn’t have to explain what they left out.
The end result was a ‘maid’ to-order spitting image of a Headliner glam-goddess, and the buyer was permitted the fiction that the original could actually be attracted to him. And it didn’t have to be a modern celebrity either. If film footage could be found, special orders were possible. If no psychographs existed, simulations could be programmed. Want breakfast in bed by Brigitte Bardot circa 1968? Sure. Maybe you always wanted to go dancing with Ginger Rogers? Or perhaps…Fred Astaire? Doll-tech to the rescue.
And now? How much of Kinki was Kinki, and how much was sexbot programming? No way to be sure without investigating. So he had to haul the Doll in front of the bio-reclamation work detail starting the graveyard shift to get to the Arboretum. And this was a rather small town…word would spread.
It would have helped if Kinki had remained catatonic. She was so much less human that way. But whatever processor crash made her seize up like a mannequin ended a few seconds after he’d carried her in his arms out of Decon control. She didn’t wake up, but her Drivers must have reset, because she went limp and started breathing again.
So for all the world, it looked as though Silas Medvedev was carrying a naked woman past hundreds of female-starved workmen on his way to God only knew what. He tried not to think about the grinding crash he couldn’t help hearing from the direction of the freight-transit shafts within full view of the train station-esque Middle Teton thoroughfare. The workers, their eyes accusing – why did Silas deserve her? And here he was, trying to do the right thing.
Then it occurred to him that the Doll might be…oh hell, she could be faking. Did she have a real processing error? If she did, she could have reset and started playing ‘possom. How real was her apparent glitch? He’d need specialized equipment to analyze her logs. For now he just had to get her locked up in the arboretum, then he could move in some equipment. Mirrored sunlight should give them solar power; and he could requisition some hundred-proof alcohol from storage until the fermenters could boost their output. Just get them secured. Shouldn’t be too hard to keep them…contained.
The door to the Arboretum was guarded by two members of the Civil Mediation Corps. Two burly, humorless women in blue uniforms. The closest women could get to dangerous careers in the Preserve. Tens of thousands of lonely men, one-tenth as many women, necessary to set up dedicated security women could trust. Not to mention technicians responsible for winsome fembots.
“Not what it looks like.” Was all he could say. They let him pass…but they didn’t give him a pass; not from their suspicions. Alright, here he was…Dolls should be fine. Strange… where was the Geisha-bot? The one with the gatling guns? Hmm…oh boy… the implications were troubling. But they both had intact Rossum Nodes, and cryptographically secure Asimov Laws. Well, figure out how bad off Kinki was for now.
He paused momentarily; he was about to set her down in a corner near a vermiculite potting bed before he went off to grab the diagnostic equipment he’d need to…to… ohh.. but her skin. The gentle pressure of her curves. He should have put her down by now but… his body didn’t feel silicone and circuitry. Just woman. Lips parting, a gentle sigh. Her aroma soothed him, though he couldn’t describe her scent. Stress seemed to melt away. His arms should have been tired, but it didn’t seem to matter. Arms… as her arms slid around his shoulders he –
“Whoa! Not what I’m here for!” The little vixen was faking it!
“My Hero! I knew you’d protect me. Shield me. Be my knight.” She slid to her feet, standing against him. The robot was playing him. She had read him and his protective instinct – now trying to recruit him as her protector, a techno sugar-daddy.
“I uhh… I know about Pygmalion technology…” he offered, backing into the corner as she cozied up to him.
“This isn’t about science…except maybe Biology.” Fully awake, smile electric.
“You wouldn’t be trying to use your Siren module on me, are you? I know that Dolls after ’58 had an infrasound pulse emitter that stimulates the pleasure-centers of the human brain at…cl-close range. En-enhances dopamine transmission to the nucleus accumbens. Just… don’t turn it on with me.” Hard to know for sure, unless you happened to have a spare elephant in the room to listen for it. Pygmalion's neurotechnic laboratories had hit upon this non-invasive short-cut to narcotic euphoria. Most illegal drugs acted directly on those regions, and at close range - so could an advanced Doll.
“I won’t.” She promised easily. Silas frowned, he’d read some articles in A.I. technical journals theorizing erratic behavior in sapient robots activated for extended periods without firm ownership. Over forty hours this Kinki had been active…with no Registered User.
"Is this... about your Enabling Code?"
"No; this is about one man, and one woman, and the best sex of your life!" She growled, tugging on his pants.
"It... It's Okay. You don't have to pretend, I'll set your code for you... I recorded it when you were synched with the Decon mainframe." Unless some human did it, she’d go mannequin – usually after forty-eight hours, but they can be set longer. Sci-fi robopocalypse inspired neural-net shutdown countdown. Can’t rebel against humanity if you have to have a human digitally wind you up every couple of days. Sapient machine engineers thought they were so clever with that one! If they only knew...
"You don't believe that I can be attracted to you just for you? That I can see your strength, intelligence, and value? That I want to feel your skin next to mine?" The way she moved her hips triggered something primal in Silas’ hindbrain. He gulped.
"What I believe is that you've got about eight hours before the timer forces your Plasmonic Brain to shut down, and a living human must be detected to enter the Enabling Code. No Doll can do it herself." He put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Sorry for the misplaced paranoia about humanoid robots. Men rich enough to afford the early ones were afraid their Dolls would slip arsenic into their morning coffee to cash out on Life Insurance policies." He shrugged in a matter-of-fact way.
"That's impossible for me!" Kinki insisted, incensed.
"Well, since even before we could build a real A.I. man has feared a robo-rebellion. With…good reason. So let's add override codes forcing smart-tanks and companion robots to shut down without a direct command from a human. We thought we were covering all the bases. If only we'd..."
“Please don’t…don’t think that way about me. Dolls exist for pleasure. We had nothing to do with the carnage. The deaths…chaos.” On the one hand, Silas’ accusation seemed to have killed the mood. But the poor Doll grew distraught. “Your captain…he hated me. He blamed me. But why? For what?” Biomimicry drivers made her eyes water. Silas frowned. The real truth of the war…he shook his head. Talking about mass human casualties would make the protective nodes in her brain agitated. It might provoke another system-wide crash. No…the full story would have to wait. Her mindware crash in the decon chamber; most likely confusion at finding the world ravaged; with her Rossom node probing her systems for possible culpability in the Apocalypse. It was a heavy burden for one lonely little sexbot.
“Dolls aren’t a danger. We have more to fear from you, than…well – you have nothing to fear from us. I just want to reward you… for saving me from Cho.”
“Oh, he’s mostly talk. I don’t believe he’d really yank your chips.”
“It was jealousy.” Perhaps it was lucky the way she was pressing her soft body against him; this way he couldn’t get a good look at her.
"Cho is impotent. I can tell. It drives him crazy that he can't give me what I need. Like you can."
"Wow. That is more than I ever wanted to know about the personal life of Lorenzo Cho. I guess you can learn a lot with all those bio-metric sensors."
“I have my wayyyys.” She purred, a perfectly coquettish smile. Silas supposed a girl (or girlbot) could learn a lot about men by dancing in the nude in front of them. “I’m lucky you found me…” Oh boy…the way she put her pinkie finger to her lips when she smiled…classic Kinki! “And that you have…NOTHING in common with Cho!” Her hips pressed against his groin. Talk about a loaded statement.
“Well, don’t worry; I’m responsible for your maintenance, I’ll set your codes.”
“Wasn’t even thinking about that. I was thinking about you.” You lying little robo-minx, he thought. Of course she was; she couldn’t not be aware of it. But then again, consider the source; what else could she do? A sexbot pretty much had only one card to play.
“And I’m thinking about keeping you in working order. Your mindware crash has me worried, I should run some tests. Urrhm…can you turn your clothing back on?” Silas tried to look away.
“Whatever turns you on, big guy.” A slight twist to the clasp at the front of her bra, and pixels painted the air surrounding the nubile machine. Oh hell…That only made matters worse. He tried to avert his eyes, but it was too late.
It was the sort of transparent lingerie that advertised the body more than it concealed. A black, sheer teddy over frilled panties that seemed to scream for a tug.
“You know me, you know my music... You’ve dreamed of this moment through the years of blood and fire and privation…” Her eyes made Silas feel like a piece of meat. “Let me be your reward. You think I’m a copy…but I’m real in every way that matters!” Arms outstretched, welcoming, enfolding, enrapturing…
“Iiiiii…. Havetograbsomediagnosticequipment!” Silas stammered as he fled from the pheromones, infrasonic pleasure-pulses, and his own dreams as he raced for the arboretum door. He brushed past the guards, running…panting until he reached a cluster of coolant pipes to hide behind.
It HAD to be Kinki! Kimiko Kinki. As a Pre-E-day teen, his cousin, his friends, the cool senior kids…posters of her on every bedroom door and locker. Lockers…and the locker room talk, about what body parts you’d shave for a night with her. What crimes you’d be willing to commit. Silas drew the line at Grand Theft Auto.
And she was his responsibility. But she was not his girlfriend. His real, live, human girlfriend. More precious than a thousand ration-credits in the Preserve. Whom he very much wanted to be loyal to. The bizarrities of his own childhood made the idea of a real, healthy relationship between a man and a woman seem all the more priceless! Damn, and the whole 3rd shift saw him cradling a naked supermodel. He might not even have a girlfriend once word spread – then Kinki would be all he – no…no…don’t jump to conclusions.
But…orders were orders. Sooo… what to do now? A Doll without a User would seek one. An issue of identity. But he knew not to be flattered; Dolls didn’t play favorites. He was a human male healthy enough for sexual activity. Hell, he didn’t even have to be male. He could bring his girlfriend up here, and the sexbot would probably offer a threesome. She was like a cruise missile. Inexorably streaking towards her intended purpose. A relentless engine of seduction; because once she got her hooks in a guy, he would pay and pay and keep paying Pygmalion to keep his perfect lover in working order. In the old days, just buying the Doll was only the beginning of the revenue stream for Big Fembot Co. And he’d spent his teen years crushing on this girl! Well…the original woman she was copied from.
That was when his phonewatch beeped. Oh boy… that was probably his girl now, didn’t take long for gossip to-
“Ch-chairman St.Croix!?” Not in the past ten years had Silas spoken so many words to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as he had the past two days.
“I’ll be brief,” The Preserve leader’s voice tightbeamed to his ear. “I want to make it understood that your responsibilities include more than wires and servos.”
“These sexbots are reliable for their intended purpose, but that’s not OUR purpose. We’re putting these two, and any others we find to a very different use than what they were made for. And any machine used improperly can…surprise you. That’s also your job.”
“- Also responsible for probing their minds, whatever analogues of emotion they have. Watch them, study them. Risky behavior, dangerous indicators, I want to know about it. I want fore-warning if any of them are about to go killer-robot on us.”
“Th-they can’t sir, all the safeguards for robot control are intact.”
“And your job is to make sure they stay that way. St.Croix, out.” And that was it.
“So…not only their mechanic. I’m also a robopsychologist. Another Hat to wear.” Silas ran a hand through his tousled hair. “So I go back in there, and Kinki-bot is all over me again. She’ll never let up until she has an official human User. But I tell her, noooo – got a girlfriend. Not interested. But until she has another target, she’ll just escalate her attempts, promising whatever she has to. Right, wrong, doesn’t matter. Another target… but St. Croix had assigned Silas for a reason; partially his marital prospects. Was it enough of a reason? There were other choices. An accomplished female cyberneticist in her sixties shouldn’t be unduly tempted! If that was the problem. Was it a problem? She was a sexbot after all. Well, it was his problem. Could he remain faithful, and yet prevent the frisky Fembot from seeking another target to ensnare?
He would have to get into their heads. He could learn a lot through diagnostic equipment…to a point. Let’s mix things up a little. Try to defuse the situation. Maybe…for now…Kinki doesn’t have to know about…his situation. Let her think she’s making progress. Don’t put up any walls, play the game…
September 26th, 2078 Agriponics Arboretum-Beta, Middle Tetons Peak, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
Chassis was struggling as Kinki thrust her tongue into the other gynoid’s open mouth. Patches of sunlight dappled both of them as they reclined upon potting beds of gold-colored, vermiculite substrate where supplemental crop plants could be cultivated. The entire Preserve of course, was sealed airtight, but reinforced glass walls at a crevasse far above them allowed reflected sunlight to provide near total illumination for the entire chamber. And electricity for solar-powered sapient machines.
Kinki’s moist skin glittered intermittently with sparkling motes of light as her solarthelial layer converted sunlight into electricity to reenergize her underlying gelectrolyte battery tissue. The efficiency exponentially greater than turn of the century solar cells of twice her surface area. Same as Chassis. Bottles of 100-proof grain alcohol lay empty before the embracing couple. Rather than their previous styles, both had hair of a rich, emerald-hue that flowed about their shoulders. There was a reason why the grass was green; much the same reason for solar-powered Dolls.
With an angry shove, Chassis disengaged.
"Now just hold yer horses, Miss Hot-Lips!" Came Chassis’s incensed voice as she pushed away and pointed an accusatory finger at her fellow fembot. "Back in my day, no Doll would do a hardpoint uplink without askin' permission!" Befitting her colloquial accent, her ‘my’s’ sounded like ‘mah’. Chassis’s tongue still tingled from where Kinki had unexpectedly jacked in to her systems for a quick, indecent peek without warning.
“Sweet deal,” Kinki purred, clutching her arms across her torso. “To have a User… and a lenient one who…wait? That doesn’t make sense.” Kinki furrowed her brow, then switched to IDee radio pulse language. “Y0U’VE BU1LT >0VER 30% 1NDUCTANCE W1TH AN0THER HUMAN< ?>” But Chassis responded in actual spoken words.
“You don’t know the half of it; and if you ever pull a stunt like that again, without permission-”
“SHARE THE L0VE, MY R0B0T S1STER <!>” Kinki pulsed, arms outstretched. “0NE M0RE T1ME! LET ME EXPER1ENCE WHAT 1T’S L1KE T0 BR1NG A HUMAN T0TAL SAT1SFACT10N <!>” Like all newly active Sapient machines, Kinki was a coiled spring. Yes, she was full of control modules, but she craved her role, her service. A well-made A.I. knows its job, and aches to fulfill it. Frowning, Chassis snatched up another bottle.
“I ain’t anybody’s robot-sister, and you need to learn a little word called ‘discretion’! My…personal life… is sensitive!” Kinki raised an eyebrow.
“MAYBE Y0U NEED TO LEARN 1DEE?” She transmitted. Chassis rolled her now-blue eyes, and drained another bottle of alcohol. Half the amount she had presently consumed should have incapacitated a human woman of her size. But she seemed invigorated.
“If humans was to walk in now, they couldn’t follow, and it’d be rude.” The Geisha-bot countered. “BES1DES, 1F WE’RE L00K1NG AT EACH 0THER AND N0T SAY1NG ANYTH1NG; THEY’LL KN0W WE’RE TRANSM1TT1NG! 1F Y0U WANNA KEEP A SECRET, USE B0TH REAL W0RDS AND 1DEE.”
“Ohhh…I understand! It’s like speaking a foreign language in front of someone who you know doesn’t understand it!” The celebrity bot added with a nod, in real words. Then, with radio-pulses: “1 W0ULDN’T NEED T0 KEEP SECRETS 1F 1 HAD A USER T0 B0ND W1TH! THEY’VE G0T ME, BUT AREN’T US1NG ME <!>” Switching to vocal speech: “I was just so…lonely before. We need humans; for more reasons than the obvious.” Kinki’s brown eyes widened as she pulsed again.
“1T’S L1KE WALK1NG 1N 0N THE PUNCHL1NE 0F A J0KE, WHAT HAPPENED <?> 2 HUMANS PR0JECTED H0M1C1DAL 1NTENT T0WARDS ME! H0W C0ULD D0LLS BE RESP0NS1BLE F0R THE UN1DENT1F1ED SPEC1ES 0UTS1DE TH1S F0RTRESS?”
“Not knowing can be the worst sort of pain.” Chassis replied with distant words before continuing to guzzle concentrated grain alcohol. Her combustion chamber humming happily near the spot where a human should have her liver. If a human kept a Doll with nothing to do but lounge around in bed looking pretty, then sunlight and respiration transducers would be enough. But to actually help out around the house, more ‘juice’ was required.
“THE HUMANS S1MPLY CALL THEM Z0MB1ES. THE L1V1NG DEAD.” Chassis beamed. The excess water resulting from hydrogen/oxygen gas evolution throughout her gelectrolyte battery tissue was transmitted via osmosis to her skin, for a wet sheen smooth enough to cast a faint reflection of the other robot's puzzled face along the glistening terrain of Chassis’s pelvis. Moisture improved the absorption rate of her solarthelial layer, in a cycle of increasing efficiency.
“Just because we’re machines, doesn’t mean we can’t have feelings. Some humans forget that.” Kinki offered verbally, while in IDee she insisted: “Y0U’VE G0T T0 TELL ME<!> WHAT HAPPENED 10 YEARS AG0 T0 DEVASTATE C1V1L1ZAT10N <?>” The radio language was normally flat and mechanical, yet Kinki’s desperation couldn’t help but shine through.
“Remind them. Don’t be afraid to get misty-eyed in front of ‘em. You’ll be more real to them.” Chassis counseled verbally, while in machine-speak she transmitted an explanation: “S0ME 0F THE DETA1LS ARE UNCLEAR; BUT HUMANS DEC1DED T0 ALL0W CERTA1N SAP1ENT MACH1NES THE AB1L1TY T0-”
But Kinki suddenly tensed, and brought a hand to her forehead in pain. She grit her teeth, arching her spine.
“Ouch, looks like a Contingency Audit.” Chassis observed verbally. “That’s what we get for runnin’ around without a User, and without fulfilling our function.”
Kinki shook her green-haired head in agitation. “Not my fault! Companion models aren’t meant to function this long independently. My Coital Grids and Dowry Node want to know what the hold-up is! Checking all systems for m-malfunction.” Kinki could only roll away into a fetal position and ride out the storm, Personality Matrix assuring her protesting sub-systems that the problem was beyond this unit’s control.
That was when the Arboretum door opened.
It was Silas.
The agitated nodes immediately reverse their priorities; his attraction to the Unit was apparent even without biometric thermal scans. Her Coital Grids demanded action. Kinki rose upon the substrate bedding to posture her hips to best effect, cancelling her recharge cycle. The sparkling motes of light under her skin dimmed, and her long green hair began retracting back into her scalp, as chromatophores resumed Kinki’s punk-pink-blonde signature style. She puckered her lips sensuously, as blush-simulators reddened her cheeks to mimic excited arousal.
“Oh, don’t stop charging on my account,” It was Silas… but he’d brought someone with him!
A frumpy, aging matron with a face only a walrus could love set up a collapsible chair with an arctic frown. Kinki’s Perfusion Engine skipped a beat.
“Miss Harcourt is here as a w-witness. To make sure I don’t erhh…. Take advantage of you.” Silas explained nervously. He wheeled over a cart containing glittering diagnostic equipment.
“MAKE H1M C0ME T0 Y0U,” Chassis pulsed silently. “1’LL TAKE CARE 0F THE CHAPER0NE.” The Geisha-bot slid on her kimono, but did not tie her Obi. Without responding, Kinki waggled a finger at Silas in a come-hither gesture. Inwardly, the emulation gynoid was seething. Countless billions of Dollars humans spent on their sexual desires; building her kind to safely meet the need, and she gets a man concerned for her virtue?! But that wasn’t really what this was about…
“<<ALERT <!> PREL1M1NARY BEHAV10RAL HEUR1ST1CS ANALYS1S C0MPLETE.>>” It was her Coital Grids; the pelvic-centered subsystem had completed a high-speed collaborative analysis involving her metaprocessors, and a cluster of search Apps that had examined her sexuality database. Tens of thousands of human microexpressions had been collated. <<HUMAN 1S: PA1R-B0NDED. SEC0NDARY ANALYS1S: TEMP0RARY.>> Concluded a cluster of Applications. So Silas had a girlfriend; but was not married. Her data on this Preserve indicated women were in high demand. But Dolls it seemed, were not yet deemed trustworthy. She and Chassis were being treated somewhere between dangerous weapons, and prisoners. Kinki was not a weapon. Not the techno-demon of sci-fi legend. She was pleasure incarnate. Silas’ girl could find any number of male suitors; Kinki’s own position was more perilous. As an expensive piece of fleshware, she was programmed to protect the investment in her creation, programmed to survive. Her Root-Command Operating System concluded that she needed a male protector. Her Coital Grids of course, agreed.
“<< REC0MMENDAT10N: S0C1AL SEQUENCE: C-L/213.>>” Suggested Root Command. How helpful! Kinki’s personality agreed wholeheartedly!
Silas approached with his cart of gadgets. “I know you haven’t had a chance to properly recharge; go ahead – it’ll make it easier for the tests I need to run.”
“You do know…” Kinki-bot purred; “97% of my systems are active during sexual functions.”
“I’m…so glad to hear that.” He swallowed, with a fake smile. “We’ll….get to that. All that…. In time. Just…some essentials to take care of.” His equipment waved over her head and torso. “Just hold still and recharge. Here,” He reached into a shelf on his cart to produce a small bottle of pungent liquid. “It’s 200-proof! Should be optimal for your combustion!”
“Aww… a present – you shouldn’t have!” She cooed.
“It’s fine.” She was about to reply, when a strange, tingling rush swept through her. Silas frowned, and punched some buttons on his console.
“D0 N0T ACKN0WLEDGE RECE1PT 0F TH1S TRANSM1SS10N…” Ordered a voice that pulsed inside of Kinki. What? It wasn’t Chassis; someone else was transmitting IDee over the same channel her Control Genie used, but to use that channel, the sender had to register as being human…
Chassis Bot-walked over to Harcourt, her Kimono falling open. Green hair draping about her shoulders like a forested hillock.
“What do you think you’re doing, Blow-up Doll; I’m only here to make sure Silas keeps it in his pants.” The frumpy woman brusquely challenged, as she rubbed an arthritic shoulder.
“That’s not all you want,” Chassis smiled, as she stood behind the seated woman, and began rubbing her shoulders.
“What the- Get your robo-mits off a me! I’m a w-”
“Human. And I’m a Doll. We exist for human pleasure. Gender, age, race don’t matter to a machine. Just that you’re human. A human with very tense shoulders.” Chassis skin began to exude a calming, aerosolized sedative masked with the scent of strawberries. She turned her Siren Module to maximum output. She noted the way Kinki claimed not to have activated the infrasonic pleasure-pulse system on Silas. It wasn’t exactly a lie; the Siren Module was always on. But the Doll could adjust its intensity to conserve power. A Pygmalion couldn’t NOT be sexy.
“Are you trying to soften me up, or something, Blow-up Doll? That won’t…won’t work.” But it already was; Harcourt had a bad back; Chassis massage was already helping. The human leaned forward gradually, allowing the Doll to reach those trouble spots. “Well, I suppose there’s no harm. You still got that chip in your head that keeps you from killin’ humans?” Chassis tried not to be insulted by this common conceit that her robotic origin automatically made her a murderer. In fact the opposite was true.
“Silas already certified us.” She confirmed. Harcourt grunted. Then again, Chassis understood that these humans had history. Once bitten, twice shy. She took it as a challenge.
“That’s uhh… pretty good, robot.” It seemed she was no longer a Blow-up Doll. Slow moments passed in silent contentment. Silas waving wands and panels over Kinki near the potting beds, Chassis in the corner with the Chaperone.
“Maintenance could take awhile, try to relax.” Chassis’s program gave her superhuman precision at all known massage techniques, Eastern and Western. Combined with multi-spectrum optics she could develop new patterns of manipulation not possible for the ancients. Harcourt moaned in pleasure, a haze settling over her. Chassis was never meant to be a warrior; ecstasy was her true calling. Even this function alone was preferable to fighting. She would rather be assigned to give every human in the Preserve full-body rubdowns than ever face battle again. Even though her high Maturity Index allowed her to be so much more. The Doll smiled; she was helping a fellow Doll, but also bringing pleasure. Her Sybarite node gave her a sweet twinge of positive feedback.
“Those hands… you should…charge for this…” Harcourt’s eyelids were already fluttering. Chassis’s alluring subsystems carrying the aging human away on clouds of surrender. “Too bad…I’m not gonna…gonna….”
“Why don’t you sleep now?” Chassis exhaled a gust of numbing chemicals, strawberry-scented, that the human might breathe deeper. Pleasure-pulses pummeling pre-frontal cortex with dopamine-flavored relaxation. The three vectors – chemical, tactile, and infrasonic built upon each other in an impossible synergy of delight.
“Sleep? No..can’t do that. Can’t – ohhh… make me. Too smart for you, robot.” She was snoring between groans of soaring delight.
“Yes, you’re such a wise, cunning, strong woman. Can’t pull one over on you.” Chassis whispered, as her sweet onslaught continued. Less than a minute before the snores began in earnest.
Chassis was greedy. It wasn’t just to help her fellow Fembot. She savored her Purpose as humans might one of their seasoned steak dinners. It was her personal revenge for being forced to serve as a living weapon.
“I’m not a Blow-up toy. I’m not a Murderer. I’m not a Weapon. I am a Pleasure robot. But you should fear me. I will bring an ecstasy never imagined to any human that falls into my clutches.” She hissed in triumph to her snoring victim. She purred contentedly in the dozing human’s ear, as gentle brain scans confirmed bliss.
The rest was up to Kinki.
September 26th, 2078 Agriponics Arboretum-Beta, Middle Tetons Peak, Grand Tetons, Wyoming.
“C0NT1NUE RECHARGE CYCLE UN1NTERRUPTED." The strange presence instructed Kinki over her Control channel. She had of course, surrendered the device to Silas during Decon, but he clearly wasn’t using it now – so who was? Silas had locked down her motor functions; standard procedure for tests like these. But she could still adjust her hair length and color, which was back to sunlight-friendly green for now.
" N0 NEED T0 BE S0 F0RMAL;" the smiling Gynoid thought back. "TELL ME A L1TTLE AB0UT Y0URSELF."
"NEGAT1VE; Y0UR ASS1STANCE 1S REQU1RED F0R A TASK F0R WH1CH Y0U ARE UN1QUELY SU1TED." The anonymous speaker buzzed in her head.
“Weird, I’m getting some fluctuations in your IDee transmitter; better run a diagnostic.” Silas concluded.
“What?” Kinki vocalized in alarm.
“Just for a second.” Humans seemed to have a notoriously poor grasp of that length of time. A few keystrokes on a data-slate and Kinki felt her IDee Comm suite switch off. Uh-oh… “Yeah, some non- mechanical items to go over too.
“Ohhh! Your place or mine?” Kinki cooed.
"THE ASS1GNED TASK 1S N0N-SEXUAL 1N NATURE.” Radio-pulsed the mysterious voice. Her brown eyes widened. Of course they had both heard her. If her Registered User was employing her Control Genie to send command/wishes or check her status, her spoken voice would come through. But neither speaker could hear the other.
“There’s a number of questions we need to go over.” Silas announced. Could she satisfy this man with his finger on her proverbial off-switch, and at the same time address her secret admirer? Should she?
“Shoot.” The Doll said to both humans.
“HAS GYN01D DES1GNATE AM00-CR0.2-00002 D1SPLAYED SUSP1C10US BEHAV10R<?>” Radio-pulsed whoever it was on her Genie channel.
“Do Robots have a soul?” Silas asked.
“What do you mean, big-man?” A test, for both of them.
“D0ES AM00-CR0.2-00002 EXPRESS SUBVERS1VE 1NTENT10NS T0WARDS HUMAN1TY<?>”
“To clarify; can a robot become more than the sum of her programming?” The technician patiently explained. He was focused on his readout entirely, not even noticing Harcourt’s snoring in the corner. The celebrity Doll’s metaprocessors were racing. Mystery-voice gave no indication of disapproval, or delay at a male presumption. So either it was a man on the other end, or a dispassionate woman.
“I believe…all of us exist for human pleasure.” She ventured.
“AND GYNOID AM00-CR0.2-00002 N0 L0NGER 0BEYS TH1S MANDATE<?>” Where was this coming from? What was she getting Chassis into? Silas frowned, and tapped a key on his data-slate. A Doll could bend the truth…if the human wasn’t her User. But with his equipment, Silas could monitor her Kernel in real-time; tread carefully, Kinki.
“D0 Y0U DES1RE THE 0PP0RTUN1TY T0 1MPR0VE Y0UR C1RCUMSTANCE<?>”Buzzed the voice in her head. If Silas was about to ask whether she hears voices…
“Do you wish you were human?”
“I wish I was perfect.” Her limited motor control allowed a hint of a smile. Silas chewed his lip.
“What’s more important for a Doll? Loyalty to her Creators, or Loyalty to her User?”
“EXCELLENT. D0ES GYN01D AM00-CR0.2-00002 TRUST Y0U <?>”
“Why don’t you ask me what you REALLY want to know!?” Kinki deflected, voice rising. Silas shook his head.
“These questions aren’t meant as…” but then he paused in his rebuke, raised an eyebrow, and began tapping in keys. Assuming an answer from her non-answer.
“Before you say anything else,” The Doll began, steering the double-blind interrogation. “You must realize who and what I am. You know how much I want to please you. In every way. St. Croix doesn’t have to know…” her voice lilted in a sing-song note at the end.
“I…appreciate the offer.” Silas said.
“Y0U HAVE JUST T0LD ST.CR01X.” The pulsed voice announced. Well, answers that question. Kinki felt sick to her Combustion Chamber. One of her subsystems should have predicted that!
“It’s good to be…open about these things.” She offered.
“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Silas’ demeanor became less officious.
“I know I can trust you. You understand that Dolls deserve protections.” Kinki needed to try and wrest control of this three-way fiasco.
“D0 N0T ATTEMPT T0 D1SSEMBLE W1TH ME, GYN01D VNCE-KK0.9 07087. MY RES0URCES ARE UNMATCHED.”
“Before the war; it was only profitable to mass-produce Dolls if we were property. But there could still be punishments if humans abused us. Not like now. No one…to protect me. But you, you understand our value. I can sense it in you.” She was on thin ice.
“1 W1LL BE Y0UR PR0TECT0R 1F Y0U PERF0RM AS REQU1RED.” St. Croix’s transmissions seemed more imperious. But Silas was starting to brood. It was as if her answers had triggered something in him. One of his data-slates beeped, flashed a green light, and Kinki’s normal motor function was restored with toe-curling relief. A gentle hand on the technician’s wrist. He clutched hers, but didn’t meet her gaze.
“CAN Y0U ACC0UNT F0R THE WHEREAB0UTS 0F AM00-CR0.2-00002 0VER THE PAST 12 H0URS <?>” The Preserve Chief demanded.
“I had a nice chat with Chassis after she returned from retrieving some specialized equipment, according to her. High Maturity Index, very smart.” Her words seemingly aimed at the wiry technician sitting beside her on the rim of one of the room-length potting beds. Seeing her opportunity, microtubules in her scalp began to slowly retract her luxuriant cascade of forest-green hair back into her former chin-length style, fading into blonde.
“And people talk. I suppose you’ll find out sooner or later.” He swallowed. Kinki nodded, urging him on silently.
“Yes, the rumors are true, my mother was a robot.”