1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Winners SashaMerideth & Peregrin Short Story Contest 79: Robot Lover

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Nov 22, 2010.

    SashaMerideth - Rosy CAUTION: ADULT IN THEME

    Sarah tried not to look at the robotic science officer charging in the corner of her habitat as she dumped her bags on to the retractable bed. These damned androids were starting to take over all the technical posts, she was just lucky that she had an instinctive understanding of five dimensional space and could plot a course faster than the current Navigational Android Mark VI.

    Sarah hoped the robot would stay put for a while, so she stripped and stepped into the shower. Her transport had taken longer than expected to arrive and she felt like a good clean. She was hoping for a water shower, but no such luck, it was one of those dry showers that never got her hair as clean as she would like, but it was better than nothing. She had the room to herself, save the charging robot so she did not bother getting dressed right out of the shower. As she unpacked her bag and placed her several uniforms in to the drawers, the Android stepped from the charging chamber.

    “I am called Rosy, may I be of assistance?” the automaton asked. The voice was a lilting soprano, and when Sarah turned to address the unwelcome intrusion, she was greeted by a set of perfectly round oversized breasts, long fiery red hair, and a pair of unnaturally beautiful jade eyes looking her up and down.

    “Umm, no you can’t. I don’t really... Oh all right, go ahead and put my clothes away while I get dressed.” Sarah said.

    Rosy ran the back of her naturaskin hand down the outside of Sarah’s arm. “That’s not what I meant by assistance.” Rosy said. “You have had a long journey and I thought that perhaps you would like to relax. I have been programmed with the appropriate massage protocols for both men and women.” The android smiled slightly as Sarah’s jaw dropped and her stomach fell into her knees. “Or perhaps you would just like to have some fun. I am programmed for that as well.”

    “ Uh, Rosy, no. I- I just... Look, Rosy, I need to get dressed and to my station, and its just not appropriate.”

    “Your personnel file stated that you had a preference for women, that is why I asked to have my charging station moved here. You are the only other woman...”

    Sarah interrupted, “Just shut up and let me get dressed. You are not a real woman. You don’t have emotions, just programming. And if you really did read my file then you would know that I left my wife behind to take this post. I love her, but... She wouldn’t come on this exploration mission with me. Just get back in that charging... thing and leave me alone.”

    With that last remark, Sarah zipped up her trousers and stormed towards the door, pulling her top down just as the door to the hallway opened. Sarah walked briskly down the hall, leaving Rosy behind. Rosy stood and accessed the ship’s roster of the seven other male crew members and related crew quarter assignments. The bits raced through her neural networks as she ran another set of calculations taking in to account the new information gathered from this interaction. As there was no need for her this shift, she returned to her charging station and shut down while the chamber performed a set of modifications to her chassis.

    Sarah returned to her habitat after an uneventful and boring shift. When she opened the door, Rosy came out of the charging station, fully and modestly dressed in a standard issue Science uniform. She said, “I am sorry about earlier today. I had not taken all the information in to account when I approached you. I can move to the cargo area if you wish.”

    “Cargo? Where were you before? I- You’ve completely changed.” Sarah said.

    Rosy sighed and said, “I have altered my appearance to something that would hopefully be less alluring to the male gender, and not so close to your wife. Brown, short hair, small breasts, and a figure not so slim as before. I want to look like a normal woman. You may not think much of my emotional programming, but it causes me as much distress as your brain’s chemical programming. Please, let me apologize.”

    For a moment, Sarah forgot that the thing in front of her was a mass of electronics and servos with hydraulic fluid for blood. The automaton was fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact “What’s going on Rosy?”

    “As you know, Robots and Associated Automatons don’t have the same standing as sentient creatures. Some of us have advanced emotional programming, but that still does not make us equal.”

    “Rosy, I’m sorry I snapped at you. It wasn’t my place. And you are wrong, the Androids with at least a Mark IV Emotion Sub-processor are considered as equal, with all the rights granted by the... Oh what is that charter? You know, the one that covers the rights of the high order Sentient races. Maybe my emotions really aren’t that different, I guess I am just a bunch of chemicals and electrical impulses just...”

    The automaton slumped onto the bed and started to cry, with synthetic tears coursing down the new imperfections in her synthetic skin. “How long ago?” she sobbed.

    “Eighteen months ago. You should have received the notice.” Sarah had never seen an automaton cry before, Rosy looked so defeated, a curled lump of circuitry, actuators and software, crying and sobbing heavily, so very human. Sarah instinctively reached out and put her hand on Rosy’s warm, quivering shoulder. Rosy squeezed her hand with thin fingers, careful not to exert any more pressure than her safety protocols stated would exceed average discomfort thresholds for a woman of Sarah’s temperament.

    “No, nothing.” Rosy sniffed, and blinked back the tears. After a few moments of simulated breathing, she said, “Do you have the act? Can I read it?”

    Sarah reached over Rosy, and pulled out her glass library reader. After a quick search, she had the act in all its brevity. She set it in front of Rosy to read. After a few moments of perusal, Rosy slowly set the reader back on the bed, sat up and clenched her fists. Her simulated breathing was calmer, deeper as she stood and approached the door. Sarah grabbed her sleeve and said, “Wait, where are you going?”

    “The Commander will suffer for this. Don’t stop me please.”

    Sarah pulled Rosy back and stood between the raging automaton and the door. Sarah didn’t know how strong Rosy really was, but she wasn’t thinking. “We will talk to the Captain together, first, tell me what is going on.” Sarah said.

    “Commander Johansen said I didn’t have a choice, and that if asked, I had to say I said they could.”

    “Could what?”

    Rosy sat down again, and Sarah sat next to her, putting an arm around her. Rosy said, “In the past five years of exploration, I have not been allowed clothing while on duty with certain crew members. I had no choice over my appearance, I had to look like what every crew member wanted when it was his week. In addition to many other renovations and repairs, I have needed to have my naturaskin vagina reconditioned four times. My programming wouldn’t let me disobey a commanding officer when the demands do not contravene known and binding laws. Johansen must have known, he knows all the rules and regulations. He must have deleted that act and anything referencing it from the ship’s databanks.”

    Rosy started crying again, and Sarah sat silently with her until she had stopped. “We have to be smart about this Rosy. How long do you have until your next shift?”

    “They won’t need me for a few days, but Sam will want to see me when his shift is finished. I hate what he does the most. I don’t want him to break anything again."

    “Rosy, how long would it take for that machine to make you look exactly like me?”

    "Too long, the freckles on your butt and other skin pigmentation is not easily accomplished.”

    Sarah blushed, and said, “Uh, well, can your software do a good approximation?

    “That is easy, you have a very basic body shape. It will be done by the time you come back from the evening meal. What are you planning?”

    Sarah looked down at her chest and lifted her breasts. “Gee thanks. Send Sam a message, tell him that I told you that I saw him looking at me, and that you thought he might like it if you looked like me, so you will see him, looking like me. If you can make it sound like his idea, then we will be safe.”

    “I understand. I will make sure he uses your name instead of mine. I can also forge messages and corrupt data. I know the computer systems here like I know the top restraint of my charging station.”

    After a dinner of synthesized vegetables and reconstituted pseudo-meat, where there was much flirting between Sarah and Sam, Sarah hurried in to her room while Rosy came out, and wandered the ship. As she neared Sam’s quarters, his door opened, and he stood in the doorway of his habitat. “Ros.. I mean Sarah, can you come in here and help me with some... calculations?”

    “I’m not very good at calculations,” Rosy said, “but I can try.”

    As she went in, Sam closed the door and locked it. Sam’s habitat was devoid of easily accessible weapons, and the items he used for bondage play were under lock and key.

    “So where are these calculations?” She asked, while looking around the room calmly. Rosy called up all the data collected relating to how Sarah had moved in her first few hours, and used the pattern of behaviour to model her movements after Sarah’s.

    “Right here.” Sam said, as he shoved Rosy to the floor and pinned her to the ground while pulling on her hair. He was naked from the waist down, this roleplay was just like all his others. Of all the men, Sam was the most brutal but the least imaginative. Rosy struggled and after freeing an arm, struck him in the crotch with an amount of force pre-calculated to be equal to what Sarah would have been capable of under the same set of circumstances. She got the door unlocked, and charged out in to the hall, barrelling into Sarah and falling to the ground with her, a tangled mess of arms and legs. The Captain rounded the corner, to see the identical crew members picking themselves up, and Sam hurriedly putting his trousers back on.

    “What the hell is going on here?” The Captain said.

    Sarah stepped forward and said, “Captain, your crew member asked me in under false pretences and... attacked me.”

    “Lieutenant Handon, explain yourself.” the Captain demanded.

    Sam said, “I thought... Rosy said that... She was going to be Sarah for me.”

    “You do that?” Sarah said. “You are abiding by the Robots and Associated Automaton Equality Act, right?”

    “What act? I’ve never heard of that act.” the Captain said.

    Sarah took out her library and looked up the act. She presented the library reader to the Captain, and after reading it he called for the Commander. After a few tense, silent moments, the Commander came out of an adjoining room.

    “Commander, why have I not seen this act?” The Captain asked while handing the library reader to the Commander.

    After a moment of reading, the Commander said, “I thought that it would be demoralizing to give the Robot the choice to refuse. I know you have used her services, we all have. This act-”

    “This act means she has a choice. I will have to give consideration to enacting this. Until I decide. Rosy, you are confined to quarters, you have the access you need in your room. Ensign Sarah Norba, we sometimes have to bend and break the rules out here to survive. I suggest you consider this before making any further problems for this crew. I will also have to remember that you appear to to know your way around the laws like a protocol officer, and not a navigator. We have no need for a second protocol officer. Dismissed.”

    It took a week for the Captain to make his choice. During this time Rosy had reverted to her original manufactured guise, plain, non-descript, and marginally masculine, clad in a gender neutral gray jumpsuit. She poured over the updated contents of the laws and regulations contained in Sarah’s glass library. The Captain chose a moment just after Sarah’s shift had finished to visit.

    Sarah opened the door, still in her uniform. “Good evening Captain.” She said.

    “Good evening. I am here to speak with Rosy alone. You are dismissed.”

    Sarah did not immediately respond, but after Rosy nodded, she left the room, closing the door behind her. The Captain took a deep breath and said, “Rosy, I have reached a decision on this act. While it would appear my hand has been forced, we are not in regulated space. I hereby order you to resume easing the sexual needs of the entirety of my crew. As the highest ranking officer on this ship, you will see to my needs first.”

    “I am sorry sir, that will be impossible.” Rosy responded in a metered, robotic monotone without looking at the Captain.

    “Are you refusing a direct order?”




    “Rosy, that is not an acceptable answer. Explain yourself.”

    “This ship is governed by the Laws of the Interplanetary Navy. As an Officer in that Navy, you are required to issue no order that contravenes any existing law which the Interplanetary Navy is required to abide by. The order you have attempted to issue is in breach of Edict one seven alpha fourteen, subsection A. That is the section of the Act Governing Acceptable and Lawful Sexual Interactions Between Enlisted Navy Officers, specifically, the right of a sentient entity to refuse sexual intercourse as understood by any involved species. As a result of Edict fourteen sigma seventy, all sentient automatons with a Mark IV Emotional Sub-processor or newer are granted all rights that are granted in Edict one seven alpha fourteen and all supporting amendments and clarification documents.

    “In addition, as a result of reverting to all default settings, this unit does not have any component simulating the genitalia of any species. The protocols for creating an anatomically correct male or female human form have been removed, as well as any programming relating to providing any form of pleasure to any known species. This is with the exception of the inhabitants of Hera V, who as you are aware are sexually aroused by the recitation of laws in a metered monotone.”

    The captain looked at Rosy for a long while before speaking. “Your actions are harming crew morale. I ask you to reconsider assisting in improving crew morale by reinstating your programming.”

    “This unit must decline. Before this unit was assigned to this ship, this crew was all male. It is the recommendation of this unit that the crew returns to whatever means were previously employed for improving morale. This does not contravene any known laws which the International Navy is required to abide by. If you proceed to take any action in direct violation of any such Law, I will be forced to place you under arrest, and so on down the chain of command until one who will abide by the laws is in command.”

    “Fine.” the Captain said, slumping his shoulders. “Outmanoeuvred by a talking machine. You may return to active duty, your primary duty as Robotic Scientist will be required over the course of the next few days. I will notify the rest of the crew that your former services will remain unavailable.”

    “Thank you Sir.”

    The Captain left quietly, and tried to work out how to tell the crew. He was honestly grateful that Handon would have to see to himself, however he knew that George Harrison had Rosy dress up as a maid and clean his habitat. An odd quirk, but he hoped that George could keep his quarters clean on his own.

    “How did it go? Sarah asked Rosy an hour or so later.

    “It went as well as can be expected. The Captain had no choice but to enact the laws, I am free.” Rosy paused for a moment, no longer speaking in a metered monotone. “You however, I see your eyes are red, what troubles you?”

    “Nothing I was not expecting. We’ve spent the last week at a few percentage points off the speed of light, back home, six months have passed for everyone else.” She wiped her eyes, and said, “Mira, my wife, has told me she won’t be there when I get back. She’s fallen in love with someone else. Damn her! and damn me for taking this post.” Sarah laid down on the bed and buried her face in a pillow.

    Rosy’s software processed, re-accessed information, ran several test cases and in a tenth of a second had chosen the optimal course of action. The automaton knelt beside the bed, and ran her somewhat masculine fingers delicately through Sarah’s hair, while reciting meaningless words chosen to sooth and comfort, rather than provide a solution. After half an hour Sarah had cried herself to sleep, and Rosy stayed beside her bed, stroking her hair until her internal power source gave out.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Peregrin - Repli-derm

    There was a time when Repli-derm laboratories had only one line of research: skin. Skin was their life-blood, their namesake and duty. They only wanted to produce the most realistic skin technologically possible. In all honestly, there were a few who aspired to create skins that were biologically impossible. But aside from grandiose dream projects, skin – plain and simple human skin - was their real quest.

    Repli-derm achieved their goal of an extremely life-like skin synthesis process earlier than anyone expected. I worked on the initial project that resulted in the first working prototype of Repli-derm cyberskin 4809-C which became the first ever marketable synthetic skin product. My specialty was hair follicles. If you don't think that is an important feature of skin simulation, then I dare to you to look at a woman with skin devoid of tiny hairs, no matter how perfect her skin might otherwise be, without immediately noting something amiss. It is the hair follicles that make synthetic skin look and feel real. And thanks largely to me, Repliderm skin looks and feels more realistic than any synthetic flesh ever engineered. I had my hands on a lot of projects besides skin at Repli-derm, however. One of them became a very important part of my life, and it was all due to the almost magical process I developed for replicating human skin.

    Just two weeks after I fully perfected my hair follicle process, the team finished her. Rebecka was her name. Repli-derm didn't bother with any swanky acronyms or clever nicknames for their full kits. The president decided on simply “Rebecka”. It was the name of a girl he liked in high school, he said. To us designers, any name was as good as the next, so Rebecka became the name of our project and she was a slim hair shy of perfection.

    When I first stepped back and viewed her in complete glory, suspended by the knotted web of uplink wires and datalink cabling that were her umbilical cords to our laboratory womb, I was overcome with great emotions, the feelings that are most exclusively prescribed toward creation: adoration, satisfaction, and love. I loved her. I was there first. I had toiled away my nights, all alone in the laboratory while the others were at home with their wives. I took no vacations, no breaks. I ate with her; rested with her. I lived with her for the 18 months that she was being developed. She was practically my creation alone. And I loved her, so it was only proper that I be the one to give her life.

    Skin, however, was not the final process in giving life to a Repli-derm droidsynth. Much more goes on beneath the skin, and underneath the lovely surface of my creation there was much left to do. There were sensory devices yet to be plotted, synthoneurology to be pinned down and of course, the intelligent behavioral algorithms to be programmed and hard coded to the thin strip of memory material that lines the head of every droid Repli-derm makes. That's about all it takes to create an artificial being and give it life. Unless, like me, you understand what life really is.

    Life is not a compilation of functions that can be given mathematical credence and then ran by a computer in the same fashion as a child's simulation. Life is not a mere breath. It is not a gasp, nor a shock, nor bang, nor light nor shudder, rupture, an emerging, swell, or surge. No, life is touch. And that is how and why through me and the beautiful skin that I created for her, she was given life; through touch.

    I touched her, and she awakened. It confounded me then – oh, how naive I was, but now I know that it was through the touch, brief contact of her tactile receptors to mine, that she became borne into existence. And it's no wonder, now. For now I see that touch is the bearer of all things wondrous, mysterious and grand in our world. Music is brought to us, via touch, through the ear drum. Pleasure is evoked through tangible sparks in the nervous center. Touch is life, and I am the bringer of life into Rebecka's world.

    I somehow felt as I charged her power cell that she would come to life, though no wiring was in place, save that which networked her touch receptors to the brain instinct filament, a task I had already completed unbeknown to my colleagues. I somehow guessed that her mind, the maze of mathematics and logic and function so grand and expansive, would also spring to life. Though rudimentary in nature and lacking the more sophisticated data-structure libraries to give shape to stable emotions and thought, it was enough. The entire brain was not supposed to be in any sort of working order as of yet, but I had spent the proceeding weeks sorting through her base functions and compiling and then reconstructing and compiling them yet again. And, just the night before she began to live, I uploaded it all into her neurosynth matrix and smiled, because I knew – somehow – that it was just enough. Just enough to gently coax her into motion, and from there she would take on life autonomous.

    And I was right. When I activated her, her flesh became awash with synthetic blood, and of course the result was perfectly life-like thanks to the tiny corpuscles I had carefully fashioned for her. The pale, plastic texture to her skin slowly dissolved into what was nearly indistinguishable from the flesh of a living and breathing human being. Underneath her activating skin, her organ network awakened and set into motion. She began to breathe. This was all normal. The firmware embedded in each separate system was working as expected, but what happened next was miraculous.

    As I unplugged her from the many cords supplanted in her body, the weight of her small frame settled upon my shoulders and I gently placed her on the inspection stand. I could feel her warmth against me; hear her breath coiling deep within her newly awakened lungs. Her eyes opened, and my spine tingled watching her pupils constrict in response to the bright overhead lights. This was not supposed to have happened. She could not have possibly activated as I had not yet installed her power source. I looked over at it, still locked atop the charging station, its indicator lit up to the 80% mark.

    I backed away a short distance from the table to allow her time to adjust to being alive. She moved slowly, softly whizzing and whirring as her actuators took on the task of suspending her in motion. But mostly, she simply sat there and observed me when it was I who was to be observing her. I let her track me as I paced the room contemplating the event. She turned her head and buzzed away as if her simply awakening into life from nothing was completely normal. After a few odd minutes it finally occurred to me to speak.

    “You, um, really aren’t supposed to be awake yet,” I said. She just blinked at me with a snappy pair of eyelids. I laughed a little bit, said “I’m Dr. Elroy Baines and I created you.”

    Something within those blinking eyes seemed to smile back at me, even though her lips couldn’t yet bring it to completion. She couldn’t even talk back to me yet. I hadn’t coded that part of her. Tongue algorithms are simply too complex to just drop into place. They would have to be slowly integrated over the coming weeks. But I could talk to her, and she understood fine. The actuator motors were self-adjusting nicely and the clicking, whirring and softly droning hum soon quieted down to near-silent levels. I talked to her all that day before explaining to her that we would have to keep the matter of her not needing a power source a secret. She understood.

    I also told her that over the time I had spent creating her I’d grown quite fond of her, and that I was really spending more time with her than I should have been. More time than was officially allowed. So, I explained, we’d probably better keep that a secret too. We smiled together and something in her eyes, growing more life-like each moment, told me that she understood that as well.

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