An April Fool’s day story-Journey to obsolesce
Setting-a small college in the year 2096
The student sat in her dorm room and prepared for her writing assignment. The first option was to write about her own life, the second to write about a fictional character. Now how would a story about her own life go?
I was activated 20 years ago in the factory as unit APR-4011. 5’6” (1.68 meters) and proportionate build for an organic woman of my height. (Although my breasts were slightly larger.) White skin, plastic sheen, dirty blond hair.
At the end of my quality testing my J7 emotion chip was activated. I knew from programmed in data that my emotion chip, facial and vocal showing of emotion and reading of the emotion of others was pure state of the art.
It was not that bots did mechanical tasks better if they felt or that existence was to be felt. But merely that our understandings of organics, and vice-versa would improve if we had that feature. Besides there was a simple subroutine to deactivate all that if desired.
Later I was reactivated for a few hours and loaned some programs. I spoke an obscure tribal dialect and played ping pong at less than the capabilities of my reflexes. I entertained a foreign visitor who liked to speak his own language and win at ping pong. Then I went into a bedchamber and played another game we both won.
My emotion chip barely registered at being prostituted out since I thought that was routine for a bot. The extra programing was deleted, I did a self-cleaning and was deactivated again.
I was moved to a truck and reactivated when we got to our destination. Five of us Ultima R-6 fembots and four Ultimer R-6 malebots had been sold to a power plant. We downloaded our new programing and changed into the jumpsuits and boots provided.
The older bots saw us check in. I tried to read the subtle expressions on their robo-faces but I hadn’t had much practice at it so I imagined they felt relief. That we were here now and everything would be better.
My second day I loused up a relay and signaled the foreman. Since everyone knew I was perfect they revised our instructions to prevent this happening again.
Sometimes I mopped up and watch the employees leave through the window. I saw Chad, one of the organics here, unlock the passenger door of his car. Then he climbed over and sat in the driver’s seat. I thought it was exercise or some human affectation.
Later his car totally broke down and he got a new car. He entered it the usual way.
A year after I started a crop of new bots arrived. Terrif N-3 malebots and fembots. They had a slightly golden sheen.
I should have felt disappointed but I felt surprised. Despite all the power in my CPU nothing in my experience suggested I wouldn’t be new and state of the art forever.
The day came when the important tasks were limited to bots with Markien wireless connections and D-3 or newer CPUs. Never mind that I’d been working those tasks for five years.
After that it was a relief to be sold to the broom factory. I got checked off on all operations in just over an hour so I could substitute for any bot down for repairs.
Fifteen months later the company freed us for the tax break. No warning. One minute I was property the next minute an employee. Downloaded a bunch of software on how to cope with being on my own.
Humans spend years with their parents knowing one day they’ll grow up. It was a bit overwhelming to be thrust into adulthood unprepared.
The factory let us stay till we had a few paychecks. Then I rented a spot in a robo-barracks and paid my own power and maintenance fees.
I was downsized a few years after the factory bought automated equipment. (Yes-I was automated equipment. But specifically designed low IQ manufacturing non-humanoid robots can make general purpose high IQ humanoid fembots/malebots obsolete at a task.) Did some odd jobs and was a house painter for a while.
Rented a robo-apartment. It was the size of a human closed and had leased maintenance equipment. But it felt good to have a place of my own.
As I got older my systems needed gradual replacement. The command couplings to all four of my limbs burned out 8-10 years after I’d been activated. I replaced them one by one.
I had my first scratch fixed, a bad one. But then I started leaving others. Money was too tight.
I had to let my internal waldos go unrepaired. Then one day my main power system went out when I was crossing the street. My emergency power kicked in before I had a traffic accident and I quick stepped across the street.
Then I had to open my chest panel and reach in with my hand. My main battery pack was new, but the connections were old and it had shaken loose. Bought some duct tape and chicken wire. That got me through the day. Then I spent a day with a mirror patiently jury-rigging some bolts and screws until I figured it would stay.
A recruiter got me a ticket to New Orleans and a job with a shipping company. The pay was good and I go a robo-apartment there. I moved up from robo-resident to robo citizen 5th class, then 4th class.
I had my hobbies and a bit of a social life. But I knew someday I’d have a break I couldn’t afford to fix and I’d be salvage.
I met George on a dating site. He was 20, cute and had great abs. He was honest that he wanted to try an Ultima R-6 because one was his family’s domestic bot when he’d been growing up.
But whether he’d fetishized my model’s appearance or not it made me feel young again to know I had regular dates with a guy who could have been with one of the newer, fancier bots.
He wasn’t my first. He wasn’t even my 601st. I was not programmed to be particularly chaste. But the third time we did it was spectacular. The best I’d ever had. I was emotionally up for days. Then I crashed and was in a funk. So I deduced my emotion chip was out of whack. Ran a bunch of diagnostics. Turned out the fault was in my programming. It had started exaggerating my emotions by a factor of 10. So I reset to factory settings. After a while I reset it for a factor of 1.6. Life was for living.
After 18 years online the communications array between my CPU and the rest of my body wore out. I downloaded prices and knew it was all over. So I texted everyone I knew to delete my contact info as I was now salvage.
George came by and told me not to give up. His cousin was doing experiments in the nature of Artificial Intelligence. Most of her grants came from kooks who were worried about the forthcoming robot revolt. (As if.)
She asked how I saw myself. Then grew a quick grow clone with brain pattern suppressed. I downloaded everything I needed to know then they ran wires between my CPU and the close’s brain like an old sci-fi movie and flipped the switch. I became the first successful robot to human conversion.
I spent a month in diapers and it took three more months to walk. Now I have all the brain linkages formed but I’m the clumsiest gal in the dorm and I avoid sports, dances and such things.
My new “emotion chip” is so much more powerful than my old one. It’s like living in color instead of black and white.
The experiment is paying my expenses and schooling in exchange for regular detailed reports.
I remember being perfect. In an obsolete robot sort of way. I’ve lived that life. Having another go at life, even with the challenges of humanness, makes me feel like the luckiest fembot… individual ever.
April couldn’t type that. It was much too personal. In this whole school the only one she was “out” to as an ex-bot was her girlfriend Jackie. So she began to think of writing on the alternative topic.
Still, she had once been a brand new Ultima R-6 fembot. She smiled at the memory.