Generations by BA
The woman sitting at the dark wood customer desk looked annoyed and surprised as she read through the itemised service bill on the screen. She had begun a cursory quick scan of the cryptic list of dry technical procedures before swiping her husband’s pay-card as usual but, after her eye caught a few unexpected phrases amongst the jargon, she found herself scrutinising every line with growing incredulity.
“Who authorised all this work?” she asked the pretty brunette assistant over the desk.
“Madam, the client selected this range of modifications from our catalogue during in-processing. Here: these are her authority codes against the modification serials; these others are for routine scheduled maintenance and these ‘X’ codes are for work needed to rectify faults identified during systems inspection. I can assure you it is all quite correct...”
There was an awkward silence as the woman eyed the screen with suspicion. The assistant waited with carefully programmed patience; her neutrality balanced sufficient explanation against being over intrusive, after all customer care was the pinnacle of AI development. She watched discretely trying to read the emotions playing across the older woman’s face; it was difficult to tell her age, somewhere mid thirties to mid forties but in excellent shape. Her striking freckles were framed by red-gold curls and anger, resignation and confusion met behind her clear-blue eyes.
“Okay, I suppose I’ll take her but I’m not happy at all. I want my concerns recorded and I expect you will be hearing from my husband... I had no intention for Sammy to be upgraded at this time...” She handed over the card and; first waiting for the notification box detailing her complaint to appear on the billing screen, wirelessly linked to the girl opposite; she entered her PIN.
“Thank you Mrs Deeley. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding. If there does need to be any further complaint then please do not hesitate to contact us.” The brunette smiled broadly as both women stood and she handed over a small black courtesy wallet. “Your daughter is waiting for collection over there.”
The still vexed redhead followed the gesture to a dozen or so females lined up neatly against a far wall across the plush open-plan reception area. Each woman stood stiffly on a low motorised step, stabilised by a chromed rail around their hips and butt, on which they had been wheeled from the hidden service area. Without another glance at her assistant, Sammy’s ‘mother’ walked over to find her troublesome android girl.
Several other customers were conducting their affairs at the discretely spaced desks and a few more waited on plush chairs, casually glancing through glossy magazines or, in a few cases, simply sitting motionless and vacant. Mrs Deeley failed to notice that, for all their shapes, sizes and styles, every woman there was head-turningly attractive, gracefully poised and apparently completely at ease.
The newly serviced androids in the collection area were each covered with a clear plastic dust sheet making Sammy difficult to spot at first; then Mrs Deeley caught sight of a long strawberry pony-tail; chosen to compliment her own more vibrant red in a plausibly inherited way. She dug into the courtesy wallet and pulled out Sammy’s familiar brushed aluminium remote, pointed it and pressed the 1/0. After a brief pause the stiff, straight figure burst into life as Sammy tore through the plastic and bounded over to her mother with a typical eighteen year old’s energy.
The young woman took only a moment to register her situation: service completed, new upgrades installed and tested, new drivers operating seamlessly with her legacy programming as if she had been built this way. She was half disappointed to find all her memories of maintenance had been deleted, if indeed she had been online at all over the last two days. Sometimes she was reactivated with intriguing memory fragments that hinted at the intimate disassembly and maintenance her robot body required each month but not this time.
Sammy registered her mother’s disapproval as she bounded over and stopped short of the intended hug. Her skimpy crop-top now looked a good deal tighter around her slim hard body than it had when she was dropped at the maintenance shop.
“Oh, Mother; you’re not angry?!”
“Yes, Sammy, I am angry! I’m surprised at you too, you look like a hooker-bot. What were you thinking?”
“Mum, don’t be such a cube! It was my first annual service and the options are all on my contract! I think these look great...” She twisted to show off her new double-Ds to best effect and Mrs Deeley was horrified to see that her daughter’s top was now so tight that it rode up over the discrete control panel below her pneumatic chest.
“Stop that! Your father will be furious! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself right back here as soon as he gets home.” Mrs Deeley brandished the courtesy wallet with its itemised service bill, “Don’t think I haven’t seen your software options too; heaven knows when you think you’ll be using them young lady!”
Sammy took on a more serious air; she knew what her mother’s turn of phrase meant.
“Mum, calm down okay...”
“No, I will not calm down! I just don’t know who you think you are! You’ll probably need to be reprogrammed if this is how you behave...” Mrs Deeley drew a few glances from the serene ladies nearby as she raised her voice.
“I am angry, Sammy! I don’t know who you think you are, looking like some hooker-bot! I’m surprised at you...”
“Shhh, Mum!” Sammy glanced around in embarrassment as her scolding began to develop into a sadly familiar scene. “Just drop it okay...?”
“What will your father say? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself back here for reprogramming when he gets home...! What were you thinking? What do you look like?!”
“Shit, Mum! Calm down okay?!”
“I saw your new software, Hooker-Bot! I will not calm down, young lady! I am angry, Sammy! What were... I will not... I will not, young lady! I will not!” Mrs Deeley’s tone rose to a sort of hushed hysteria as she began to trip over herself in her efforts to dress Sammy down, jumping between phrases like a scratched record. Sammy gave up her half-hearted efforts to calm the older woman down and simply reached behind her ear and deactivated her. “...Probably need reprogram... ing... you... ng... lay... de... ee...”, her firey curls bounced slightly as her face tiled downward and froze.
“Do you need some help there madam?” The pretty brunette assistant stepped around her desk in concern and Sammy’s new software was quick to notice her full curves under the close fitting store uniform.
“No, I’ve got it thanks. My mum doesn’t do emotions well; she’s running a Type 5 AI on a second gen core. Crashes all the time...”
Sammy rummaged in her mother’s Gucci bag and pulled out a short cable which she plugged in just under her own skimpy crop-top. She undid a couple of buttons behind the deactivated woman’s summer dress and slipped her hand in to fumble around before clicking the other end of the cable into place. The girl then zoned out for a moment as she reset her mother’s system, Mrs Deeley straightened up and her head lifted as she rebooted in silence for several seconds.
“Oh! Sammy, I’ve logged a glitch...” The older woman came to life with surprise. Online now, she still stood still and stiff-backed with her arms hanging passively by her sides, systems still slaved to her newer, more advanced daughter.
“It’s okay, mother. You got a bit over-excited is all.”
“And are you surprised? You look like a hooker-bot! What will your fath...” Mrs Deeley froze abruptly in mid sentence with the flash of renewed anger in her unseeing eyes. Not for the first time Sammy made a quick edit of her mother’s memory files. A few careful deletions and some changed settings and the older unit should function fine once again. It amused her slightly that the mother-daughter relationship programmed into their personalities and designed into their appearance for daily use was so opposite to the functional dependence of the older model on her technical support. It was only Sammy’s state-of-the-art reliability and frequent timely adjustments that allowed Mrs Deeley to run a full spec AI at all, she had been built as a mere simulant unit.
Their brief altercation over, the reprogrammed Mrs Deeley thanked her daughter for her help correcting her little malfunction. Sammy unplugged her and carefully refastened her dress as she straightened her appearance.
“Your new breasts look very attractive, they compliment your slim chassis design very well. Perhaps we should go clothes shopping on the way home?”
“No, mum; I think you need a re-load first...” Little did Mrs Deeley know, but soon, after a few more adjustments, she would be the enthusiastic first test subject for Sammy’s new hardware.”