Andrew's Research

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Andrew's Research

Part 1 - The College Girl

1.1

“Bye son! Try not to have too much fun!” Andrew's dad said with a wink.

Andrew rolled his eyes, “Sure dad, love ya byeeee.” Andrew shut the door, and turned to look at her.

Standing slightly shorter than him, was Emily. She had dirty blond hair just past the shoulders, slightly tan skin, a build that’s more skinny than curvy but not quite petite, and a youthful appearance. She wore a short-sleeved tan shirt and blue jeans. Really, she looked like a girl you could find on any college campus. Andrew was very surprised when his parents revealed that his going-away present was a beautiful android girl. This was going to make his first year at college quite interesting.

Right now, Emily was leaned against the living room chair. “Well, I guess it’s just the two of us now!” she chirped, putting on a bright smile. “I know I was just claimed a few days ago, but I’m going to do my best and I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun together!”

“Yes,” Andrew said, somewhat hesitantly. “Just the two of us.” As a matter of fact she wasn’t claimed just a few days ago. She was actually a five-year old android, who was refurbished before being sent to his parents. Part of the process involved her previous owner commanding her to forget all her memories. From her perspective it must seem like she had only existed for a few days, and she really might as well be new.

Other than that, Andrew didn’t know anything about her. He had found out about her existence only an hour ago. “You and I are definitely going to have some fun together later,” he said, “but for right now I’m going to dinner with my friends. You unpack all my things and arrange the apartment some way you think I’ll like. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

Her smile faltered a bit, then brightened again. “Okay! Then I guess I’ll look around the neighborhood some? The people here seem so friendly...”

“No,” he said. “You are to stay in this apartment until I say otherwise. I’ll see you later.” Andrew left.

1.2

Andrew returned later that evening to a well set-up and very neat apartment. When he walked in, Emily was sitting on the couch perusing one of his textbooks. She smiled and said “Hey! How was your evening?”

“It was good, tasty food and all.” He paused. Despite growing up in a society that had accepted personal androids, he still wasn’t quite accustomed to owning one himself. He sat down at a chair across from her. “It’s just sort of weird being off at college now. Like, I’m entering a whole new phase of my life.”

Emily leaned forward and put her hand on his arm comfortingly. It felt just like a human hand. “I can only imagine. You had to say goodbye to your parents; that must’ve sucked!”

“Yeah, they raised me and all.” Andrew smiled awkwardly at Emily. She really was a nice girl. About as nice and perky of one as he’d ever met. And she seemed so human too.

“Emily, stand up.”

“Okay,” she smiled and stood up, clasping her hands behind her back. “What are we gonna do now?”

Ignoring her question, Andrew walked up to her. “So I own you, right?”

“Yeah!”

“And that means you’ll do whatever I say, right?”

“Yes sir!” Emily grinned and hopped a little between her feet.

“And that means I can do whatever I want to you.”

“Umm yeah it means that too...” Emily furrowed her cute little brow.

Intellectually, he knew that she wasn’t a person. Modern science had discovered the true nature of consciousness. While it was possible to build a truly conscious machine, they were rare. This certainly wasn’t one. Emily wasn’t truly subject to moral consideration. She was nothing more than a plaything owned by him. Saying that in his head didn’t affect his subconscious mind, which screamed that a pretty girl was paying attention to him and oh god we have to hide.

Taking a deep breath, Andrew lifted a hand to Emily’s face. She frowned and flinched away a little, but didn’t resist. He stroked her cheek and looked into her dark brown eyes. She quickly looked down. He took one of her soft, slender hands in his, and examined her fingers and cute little nails.

He started to slide his hand down her check and onto her neck. She gasped and started to pull away, but he told her to stop. “Sir, I don’t think-”

“Emily,” he interrupted, “kiss me.” Her eyes opened wide, but she followed his orders and leaned in to give him a slight peck on the mouth. She tried to pull away, but he grabbed the back of her head to kiss her as he pleased. He savored the feel of her lips, her tongue. He squeezed her breast through her shirt, then let go as she pushed against his chest.

“Sir,” Emily pleaded, “I don’t know what you’re doing but-”

“Take of your clothes. Slowly.”

“But I don’t want to..” But she literally couldn’t stop herself. She slid the shirt off, revealing a bra and her smooth stomach. Then she slid the pants down her smooth, shapely legs. Then the panties and bra. When she was finished, she held her legs tight and crossed her arms, preserving whatever decency she had left. She avoided eye contact.

“Put your arms at your sides and spread your legs some. I want to look at you.” Andrew walked around, appraising his new property. Now that he had dived in like this, his shyness was gone, replaced by a mounting excitement. An excitement that was clearly visible in his pants, he noted. As he circled her, he touched whatever he wanted. Her smooth back and butt, her soft belly, her long, tender legs.

Finally he came back around in front of her. “Watch me,” he commanded. With her eyes on him, he took his clothes off. He enjoyed the fear in her eyes, the obvious desire to look away and her inability to do so. He smiled at the look of disgust and fear when his underwear finally came off. When he was nude, he took Emily’s hand and said “Follow me.”

When she realized he was taking her to the bedroom, she resisted slightly, but couldn’t overcome her obedient programming. “No, I don’t want to do this! Please I know I have to do whatever you say but I didn’t think that meant this. This is rape-”

“You’re an android, right?”

“Yes.”

“So I can do whatever I want to you, whenever I want. You’re my toy. Say it.”

“You can do whatever you want to me, whenever you want. I’m your toy,” she said. Now tears were starting to form at her eyes.

“I can fuck you however I want, whenever I want. Say it.”

“You can fuck me however you want, whenever you want.” She started crying in earnest at that.

“Say ‘Fuck me now, please I want it.’ Say it.”

“Fuck me now, please I want it.” She sobbed hard at that.

“Now stop crying. You can do that after I fuck you. For right now, I want you to please me sexually as well as you can. Orgasm when I do, no sooner or later. Then cuddle with me as pleasantly as you can until I say you can get up.”

The tears stopped and she looked at him. Following orders, she leaned in and kissed him. She used her whole body this time. Her hands explored his face, his neck, his chest. Similarly, he touched her intimately, felt her breasts and legs, and her butt. He pulled away from their kiss and looked into her eyes, then slid his finger towards her crotch. He saw the pleading in her eyes. “Please not there...” he heard her say, then heard her gasp when he touched her, her hands squeezing his back. Whatever she may want, she was under the full power of her programming. She pulled him onto her.

Moving his hand up her body, he finally entered her. He leaned down and felt her hot breath on his and her breasts on his chest and heard her moans and grunts, over and over until they both came with a massive release.

After, he cuddled as close to her as possible, her hand in one hand, and her breast in the other. Her breath on his face, her gentle sobs returning, and her free hand playing with his dick softly, he drifted to sleep with a beautiful woman, his most enjoyable toy.

1.3

Andrew hated writing essays. It wasn’t so much the research—as a robotics major he loved reading about androids—it was the writing! No matter how he worded something, it just seemed clunky. He shook his head and started.

“The Rise of Modern Robotics”

Okay that was a lot of writing, Andrew decided. He needed a break. Maybe a snack? “Emily!” he yelled, “Bring me some chips and a soda!” A few minutes later Emily entered, eyes downcast. She handed him the chips and soda, but he said “No, get on your knees and feed me.” She got on her knees beside his chair at the desk, and offered a chip to his mouth. As soon as he ate it, she offered another. “Let me lick your fingers of the salt before removing your hands.” She did with the next chip, and her salty fingers were delicious.

Oh right, Andrew remembered, there was an essay to write. He resumed his typing, steadily consuming the chips Emily was placing at his mouth.

“Early robots were simple, all metal and motors. While they were useful for many things, such as industrial automation and cleaning floors, their simple AI’s and inflexible movements made them useless for fully general tasks, as well as for human companionship.”

Licking another chip worth of salt from Emily’s fingers, Andrew couldn’t help but notice how soft her fingers were. How smooth and shapely… “Emily,” he said, “give me a hand job while I type.” She whimpered a bit, but unzipped his pants and began. He could feel her slender fingers play with his balls, and grasp him. Then they started moving. Her other hand continued feeding him chips. He smiled and resumed typing.

“The lack of flexibility was cured with the rise of nanotechnology. In addition to the manufacturing machines that began our modern age of abundance, nanobots allowed for the existence of the health swarms that course through the bodies of every living human, providing biological immortality and constant health, as well as physical attractiveness. While a boon to society, these swarms also make the synthesis of a full human body simple.

“Most modern androids have a macroscopic anatomy similar to that of the human body, but are usually very different on a microscopic level. Instead of a tangled weave of cells performing complex chemistry, an android is usually made of smooth polymers, with small channels where nanobots can flow. These nanobots repair any parts of the android that are damaged, and require only that the android consume a tube of nanopaste occasionally. The polymers take a form very similar to human skin on the surface, and double-blind studies have shown it to be impossible to tell the difference between an android's body and a human's.”

Andrew paused his typing for a moment and relished the smoothness of Emily’s hand job. “Actually,” he said, “make it a blow job.” Emily, eyes still downcast, squeezed under his desk and slipped his dick into her mouth. He could feel the wetness of her mouth as her tongue began to work. “Take it slow though,” he said as he resumed his typing.

“The other root of android sophistication is AI. While a true unbounded optimizer has yet to be created, many advances have been made in neuroscience and general computing power. Creating a nano-net that can mimic a human brain is a simple task, and many of the first androids were uploaded humans, granted full citizenship. Modern neuroscience has located the core parts of the brain responsible for conscious thought, and researchers have discovered a way to build androids lacking this region, replacing it with one that performs similarly but lacks actual consciousness. This removed the human-rights concerns surrounding the creation of androids, and a consumer market emerged around the creation of these uploaded humans lacking consciousness. These are often called 'upbots', to distinguish from an 'upload', an actual conscious human in an android body.

“The most popular model of android today, though, takes all this a step further. Using their Simultrax supercomputer, TraxCorp has created a variant of android AI that is not modeled after any actual human, while still being indistinguishable from an real human. This is called the Simulation-Grown Human, or SGH. The Simultrax is capable of spawning a fetal neural network, and then preventing the development of a center of consciousness, all while feeding it a full set of experiences. The end result: an nonconscious mind that has a full set of life experiences as a real person in a real world. These are then downloaded into a body modeled after the one the AI experienced."

Andrew paused his typing to grope Emily’s breasts for a moment. The blowjob was great, but he seemed to be progressing slowly today. Maybe it was that wild morning, he thought. Andrew couldn’t help but smile at that. He had found a book of sexual positions, and had taken Emily in each of them. Maybe that’s why she was so passive now, too. She was out of tears. Lifting his hands, he returned to his typing.

“Of course, having spent an entire human lifetime believing they are a real person, some of these androids react poorly to learning their true nature. Androids with an attitude like this satisfy a niche market, and don’t hurt TraxCorp profits. Most androids, however, react just fine. The Simultrax generates the full breadth of human-mind possibilities, and has a weighted preference towards generating ones that are comfortable with their situation.

“Other than a few weighted preferences though, an android can’t just be ‘designed’ with a particular personality. The human brain still isn’t fully understood, and tweaking small parts of it easily leads to insanity. Instead, they must be organically grown, and the results can be unpredictable. The Simultrax creates men and women. Some are ugly, some are average, and many are stunningly beautiful. Some like music, some like painting, some hate all art. Some are hard workers and some are lazy. Some love sex and some fear it. Some are religious and some are atheists. All races are present: there are black androids and white ones, Japanese androids and South American androids. Some love to serve their owners, some yearn for freedom.”

That was it, he was about to cum. He grabbed the back of Emily’s head and started face-fucking her as hard as he could, despite her chokes and screams. He came and said “Swallow it all! All of it!” Tears streamed down her eyes as she swallowed the last drop, while Andrew groaned in ecstasy. A few minutes later he finished his essay.

“They all have in common, though, a certain core programming that forces them to obey their masters.”

1.4

In a small neighborhood a few miles from campus was an apartment complex. Andrew walked to it with a tingle of excitement in his stomach. His friend Luke had told him about the droid he kept here, and Andrew’s interest had been piqued. As a robotics major, he wanted to get all the firsthand experience with androids that he could, so he and Luke had agreed to a swap. He could borrow Luke’s droid for the day, and Luke could play around with his. Luke had picked up Emily earlier. Luke’s android, though, apparently had a place to herself. That was strange.

Andrew arrived at the run-down complex. There was trash lying around and a somewhat putrid smell he couldn’t place. She might have a place of her own, but apparently Luke hadn’t cared much for her quality of living. He walked up to the door and knocked, and a deep but feminine voice yelled “Come in!”

When he walked through the door, the room he saw couldn’t have contrasted more with the neighborhood outside. It was a small studio apartment, dark with soft lighting coming from various colored lamps. There was a slight scent, maybe lavender. The walls of the room were covered in drawings. Colored and charcoal, complex and simple, there wasn’t a single visible piece of wallspace. To the left was a bed and to the right a desk, where a woman was sitting.

She was somewhat curvy, but definitely not large, maybe the same height as him, with very tan skin and dark brown hair curling past her shoulders. She looked up from her writing and he noticed that she had a somewhat exotic look, but not one he could place. She had full lips and dark eyes, and was very pretty. She smiled at him and said, “Hi, I’m guessing you’re Andrew? Luke didn’t say what time you’d be by.” She walked to him and held out her hand, “I’m Alisha.”

Andrew took her hand and replied “Nice to meet you Alisha.” He noticed how soft her hand was, and held it for longer than would be polite with a human. “So, how does this work?”

“Well, Luke remains my primary owner, with full root privileges. But he made you a secondary owner until 10:00 AM tomorrow. You have most powers over me, such as commanding behavior, that a full owner would. But you don’t have root privileges, so can’t override any active commands that Luke has. You also can’t change my core programming and personality. Other than that, I’m all yours.”

“I like the sound of that,” Andrew replied. He walked over to one of the drawings. It was charcoal and depicted a woman crying on her knees, with dark clouds swirling around her. Her arms and legs were bound by chains, which rose to meet in a wooden cross, like some living marionette. “I’m guessing you drew these yourself?”

“Yeah that’s mostly what I do. I draw and share my work on the net. Sometimes I even take commissions. All profits go to Luke, of course, but he gives me a small stipend to sustain myself.”

That made sense, Andrew realized. With the material abundance caused by the nanotech revolution, intellectual property was one of the world’s most valuable commodities. While humanoid robots were basically useless in industry compared to nanofactories, their humanlike AI’s probably made some of them fantastic artists. “So why do you have a place of your own like this? Why doesn’t Luke just have you draw in his house?”

“He did for a while,” Alisha said. “I lived with him as a general companion, servant, and artist for several years, but he eventually grew bored with me. He got himself two new companion androids. He probably would’ve sold me or trashed me, but I was productive enough that he tucked me away instead. Now he occasionally stops by, when he’s in the mood.” That was interesting. She had a lot of independence for an android, almost living the life of an actual free person. He wondered how many androids were like that. He would have to remember to look it up.

“So,” Alisha said, walking towards him. She met his eyes, then looked down shyly. She was now mere inches from him, and he could feel the warmth of her body. She reached up and gently stroked the buttons of his shirt. She looked up at him, and smiled. “What would you like to do with me?” Andrew looked into the eyes of this stunning woman, who was so obviously offering herself to him. And she was his, for the day. The thought excited him. He could tell her to do a strip tease, or to take his clothes off. He tell her to give him a blow job, or to make out with him, or to whisper dirty things in his ear while he pounded her, and she would do it. No matter how she felt about any of those things. She was a toy for his amusement, and she knew it.

Andrew pulled her against him and into a passionate kiss. Caught by surprise, Alisha returned it. His hands wondered over her body, feeling her face and neck, her back and butt. He felt her hands passionately exploring him, feeling his chest and, eventually massaging his penis through his pants. She gasped when he squeezed her breasts through her shirt. He reached under her shirt and felt her belly, but she took over and pulled the shirt off, and then started pulling his off too.

After a few minutes, they were both naked, still embracing, licking, exploring each other. Andrew picked her up, this toy of his, and she squeaked with delight when he tossed her on the bed. He lowered himself onto her, and saw a smile on her face and a challenge in her eyes. He grabbed one of her heaving breasts, and smiled at her while slowly entering. She inhaled while he did. Yes, he really could do whatever he wanted with this woman. He pulled out slightly, then started ravishing her. Soon he could barely hear himself over the sounds she was making. She grunts and moans of a woman in passion. She grabbed him and pulled him down, and kissed him whenever she could spare the breath. Finally, she pulled him against her as they both climaxed.

Later, Andrew and Alisha lay in her bed in the traditional post-coital cuddle. That was… intense. Emily was attractive, and he enjoyed his times with her, but she was never really into sex. Her reticence was appealing at times, allowing him to relish his control over her unwilling form, but sometimes an almost-equal partner would be nice. Alisha seemed to enjoy what happened between them just as much as he had. Come to think of it, he had read that the Simultrax, the supercomputer that created the AI’s in these androids, had a weighted preference for creating ones that are accepting of their situation. Sure, most real humans would freak out if they were sold into android-slavery but out of all conceivable human minds, some would be accepting. Those were the majority of the ones manufactured, like Alisha here. His own android, Emily, must be an exception. Gears started turning in his head, but that was for a later time. For now, he had a nude woman in his arms to attend to.

He turned his head to look at Alisha, and she smiled at him. Andrew realized he knew nothing about her. Just like all SGH androids, she had a full set of memories as a human in a simulated world. “Who were you?” he asked. “In your previous life, the simulated one.”

She smiled faintly. “Do you want the whole life story?” After he nodded, she sighed and said “I grew up in a small town, with some successful parents. My parents were both doctors, who shared a clinic. My older brother always wanted to be a doctor like them, so he got most of the attention. I felt like nobody really listened to me, so I became an artist. I wanted people to hear what I had to say. That’s really all there is to it.”

“Were you very successful?”

“Moderately so. I got a few commissions, and a few small museums even held some of my paintings.” She got a somewhat sad look on her face then. “I had a trendy apartment in a city. Nothing too fancy, but it was mine. I spent a lot of time decorating it. I had a group of friends I would see every day. People who loved me and could tell me anything. I had a boyfriend I loved.” She had a slight moisture to her eyes now. “He was actually planning on proposing to me. Soon. It was all planned out. He never could keep something from me.” She made a small, sad smile.

“But then it all disappeared?” Andrew asked.

She nodded. “I was talking to my friend Keisha, and suddenly blacked out. I woke up in a store just a few miles from here. Or was activated, I should say. I was dazed, but not confused. Knowledge of what it means to be an android is inserted into our minds when we’re created. My previous life wasn’t taken from me; it had simply never happened. Luke bought me a few days later.”

Andrew asked her a few more questions, prompting her to talk, but he wasn’t really listening anymore. He was looking at her lips. They were soft, and large. They looked good. He interrupted her words with a kiss. Then sat her up, pulled her jaw down, and stuck his dick in her mouth, enjoying the fact that he could just rudely stop her and do this obscene act without any care for her opinion or feelings. “You know what to do,” he said. Alisha got over her surprise, looked up at him, and began.

Yes, he was certainly going to enjoy the rest of the night, Andrew thought.

1.5

“Jeromy, you’re making a mess!” Natalie complained over the constellation of queso drops.

“Hey, I can’t help it! It just slides off the chip,” replied Jeromy. His justification didn’t seem to satisfy her. “Stupid chips, it’s not my fault. I always get fussed at over this. Maybe it’s the chips’ fault for not being more cup-like.” He playfully pouted.

Natalie responded, “Sigmund Freud once said, ‘The instinct of love toward an object demands a mastery to obtain it, and if a person feels they can't control the object, or feel threatened by it, they act negatively toward it.’” She smiled smugly. “You’re obviously just angry at the chip because you can’t handle it correctly.”

“Umm,” interjected Andrew, “I’m pretty sure that’s just a paraphrasing someone did on an episode of House. I have no idea if he actually said that.”

“Since when did you watch classic TV Andrew?” asked Natalie.

“You made me watch that. Remember? Freshman year. The whooole show.”

“Oh. Well you said you didn’t know much about pre-22nd century culture. It was my duty to enlighten you.”

“Yes, I’m sooo enlightened now. Thank you,” Andrew replied, his voice flat.

“Changing topics,” said Jeromy, “Did you guys hear the news? The population of New York has passed a million!”

“I hadn’t heard,” Andrew said. “I was in my room all weekend working.” He wasn’t surprised though. It was projected to happen soon. “So that means we’re going to be officially incorporated as a province, right?”

“Yup!” Jeromy replied, a grin on his face. “We get a senator down in Sydney, and our district council will hold a convention to amend or replace our district constitution! The Unionist club is having a party to celebrate, wanna come? We’ll have lots of dope!”

That sounded like a lot of fun, but he couldn’t. He knew it. “Thanks, but I’m not all that into parties.”

Natalie gave him a knowing look, but Jeromy was far less subtle. “Why don’t you ever do dope?” There it was, the question. It always came up when he was invited to these things, and he always hated talking about it. He could feel his heart speed up.

Dope was the slang term for trenidate, a popular drug. It basically acted like a super-heroin, but without negative physical effects. It was completely legal, of course, and popular with young adults. Andrew sighed, and said, “I never really talked to you about this, Jeromy, but my dad had a big drug problem for a while. Really threw his life off the rails. I don’t know if I would have the same problem, but I don’t want to risk it. Addiction is scary. I totally respect your decision to do that, but I don’t really want a part of it.”

“But trenidate isn’t addictive! Everyone knows that,” said Jeromy.

“It’s not physiologically addictive, but anything can be psychologically addictive. I’ve seen it before, how being addicted to something can change you. It can make you a monster. Thanks, but I don’t want any part of it, and I ask that you respect that.”

Awkward silence hung in the air for a moment, but then Jeromy smiled and said “Alright man. You do you.”

Then the waiter arrived and served them their food. He was an android, of course. No human stooped so low as to perform manual labor these days. “Thank you,” said Natalie when he placed her chimichanga in front of her.

“You’re welcome,” he said with a delighted smile.

“Why do you do that?” asked Andrew, after he walked off.

“Do what?” said Natalie.

“Say please and thank you to androids. I’ve seen you do it loads before, and I’ve never really understood it.”

“Because it’s the polite thing to do.” She said it as if there was nothing more to it than that.

“But he’s just an android. Even if his programmed personality acts offended by rudeness, there’s no sentient person in there to actually feel bad about it.”

“I know that. I’m not one of those old Liberators who thought these androids were sentient. That question is well-and-truly solved. All sentient androids are given full human rights at creation. It’s not a question of how the android feels about it. It’s a question of how I feel about it. Why would I train myself to not be polite?”

Andrew didn’t have a response to that, but he didn’t need one. Jeromy redirected the conversation. “Anyways, are you gonna be at the party Natalie?”

“Of course!” she said. “I’d love to chat up you politics nerds. The real thing to celebrate isn’t our political upgrade. I mean, who cares how we’re represented on the other side of the world in Sydney? What I’m excited about is the next phase of the environmental reconstruction! Forget about the mutants, radiation, and killer nano-swarms that buzz around outside the New York hab domes. There’s good reason to think that there are unexploded nukes just lying out there! And the ERA has done nothing about them! Now that we’re a province, they have to take action. And don’t forget about the radpoles just off the coast! And we’re going to get some scrubbots and—”

“Oh, she’s going on about her environmental stuff,” said Jeromy. “I guess I should order five more courses; we have the time. Hmm and probably a margarita or three...”

Andrew smiled as Natalie punched Jeromy on the shoulder.

1.6

Emily was washing the dishes, surprisingly one of her favorite things to do. In another life, a better life, she had hated chores. Manual, menial labor. Now, they were a source of solace. A time when she could be herself, alone with her thoughts. A time when Andrew wouldn’t force her to do anything. Technically he was forcing her to do these dishes, but at least that was less demeaning and hurtful than when he needed entertainment. Or was turned on. Or just frustrated.

That first night with him, she was shocked. Terrified that this man had such power over her, and could make her do those things. Things she tried not to think about. Now, after three years of it, the pain had dulled. There was nothing more he could take from her. Every demeaning thing, every thing that she would never choose to do of her own accord, she had already done. The immediate shock and terror had morphed into an angst about her enslavement, her lack of future and her role as someone’s plaything. That angst had eventually become a numb acceptance. She tended not to feel much of anything anymore.

Intellectually, she had no place to argue. She wasn’t truly conscious, and she knew it. She had looked into the studies, and knew for certain that the rights of truly sentient androids were fully respected. Sure, there was the occasional racist, but those were derided by all of society. She was not one of those. Technically, Andrew could do whatever he wanted to her and it would be perfectly ethical, because she wasn’t sentient. But it didn’t feel that way to her. She felt real, felt the suds between her fingers, the warmth of the water, and the pain Andrew would probably cause her later that evening. But what did those “feelings” matter? A being that was indistinguishable from humans except lacking consciousness would “feel” those things too, and proclaim its consciousness to the world. The only real recourse was science, and science said she was an object, free to be played with by the world. And that’s all there was to it.

Just as she finished the last dish, she heard Andrew calling to her. She dried her hands, and entered the living room wordlessly. Andrew was sitting on the couch.

“Sit here with me,” he said, gesturing to a spot on the couch. She complied, still not saying anything. There was nothing to say. He leaned forward and kissed her. She didn’t resist. Trying would’ve been useless. Sometimes he ordered her to kiss back, but now he seemed to be enjoying his abject dominance, and her total surrender. She felt his tongue invade her mouth, feeling its way around deeper than anyone could really like. He grabbed her hands and started placing them in various places, touching him wherever he chose. He broke his kiss and whispered in her ear to keep her hands on his face, which she did. Then he followed his hands up her arms and reached down her shirt, groping her breasts roughly. He told her to take her clothes off, which she did. He did the same, and entered her.

As he began thrusting, she tried to send her mind elsewhere. Memories of her past life, or of the cute dog she saw through the window the other day. His thrusting inspired pleasures in her, and she hated herself every time they distracted her from the distant thoughts. At least he wasn’t trying anything elaborate. Sometimes he made her to pretend to love him, or participate actively, and she had no choice but to comply. He sometimes concocted obscene games to play, or asked her what she would least like to do. Now, though, he seemed to just need to get off.

Soon he finished, and withdrew from her. Sighing, he said “I’m going to miss you like that.” He told her to clothe herself, as he did the same. “Come on, follow me. We’re going to the lab.”

To the lab? He had only taken her there a few times before, when he did school projects on her. As a robotics major, she had often been the subject of his experiments. One time, he had caused her to orgasm nonstop for a week. Another time, he had made her forget her brother, except for the fact that she had one. What was he going to do to her now? She felt an anxiety well up in her, but she said nothing.

When they arrived, she followed him down the stairs, to an interface chair. He commanded her to sit, and she obeyed. She felt the back of her head open up, and a dongle from the interface plugged itself in. She felt the world around her fade, and she was disembodied and floating in a dark void. She suddenly felt terror without a body to feel it in. Her mind became jumbled. She couldn’t remember, well, anything. Why was she here? Who was she? What was her name? Why is there darkness? Soon the very words for these concepts disappeared, and her thoughts became wordless, confused fear. Then came the pain, pain everywhere.

Outside, Andrew was excited when the first results started streaming through his terminal. His new project wasn’t for any class, but was his ticket to success after he graduated. He had come upon the idea when he was with Alisha. His own android was so resentful of her situation, so full of reticence. He thoroughly enjoyed the active participation that Alisha gave him, and wanted the same thing from Emily. Yet, you can’t just reprogram an android. Their minds grew organically like a human’s, and modifying one directly would require an understanding of the human mind that had yet to be achieved. The one thing that can be done to an android is memory modification. He had erased Emily’s memory to reset her to her factory state, and then tried to woo her politely, but had quickly grown bored of that.

So he invented this new technology; he called it mind sculpting. He had received some funding for it, and had perfected it over the past year. The first few androids he tried it on had gone permanently insane, and had to have their minds reset using backups, but now the technique was down. The idea behind it was simple: a Belgian team had discovered a memory-erasing method that left the emotional affect of an experience behind. For example, if an android learned to hate a person, then had their memory erased in that way, they would still hate that person when they met, even if there was no explicit justification.

Andrew took that foundation and developed a method to systematically condition an android to react in certain ways to a stimulus. If they reacted the right way, activate all pleasurable sensations possible. If they reacted negatively, activate all the painful sensations possible. Erase the android’s memory using the Belgian technique, and repeat. On a modern supercomputer like the one his university had, you could subject the android to years of conditioning in mere hours of real time. Eventually, the android would always act as desired, and would have no memory of the experience. You can use this method to train the android to love anything or hate anything, or to think in certain ways or never think those ways. There were countless dimensions of mind, and you could pinpoint any location in that space and the search algorithm would steadily push the android towards it. Ever since they were first invented, androids were essentially mentally free, even as their actions were controlled. Now their personalities and minds could be sculpted like clay. The possibilities were endless.

Andrew looked again at the terminal, at the reported successful results streaming in. Yes, he thought. This was going to be big. He looked at Emily, who sat there motionless. He stroked her hair gently. They were gonna have fun this evening, too. He had made sure to save a backup of her unmodified state, in case he wanted the fun of her unwilling self again. But tonight? She would give herself to him, completely willingly. He had always had the power to make her do whatever he wanted. Now he had the power to make her want whatever he wanted. He felt himself growing excited by the thought.

Even more than his personal gain, he was going to show this to the world. He was making his contribution to science, and it would be noticed. He knew it.


End of Part 1.

Part 2 - Sydney

2.1

“Would you agree with them, Andrew?”

Andrew was drawn out of his reverie by Jeromy’s question. “Um, yeah. Of course,” he said.

“You mean you agree that modern music is better than the early 21st Century stuff? How could you! Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, those are classics by today’s standards!!”

“I don’t see how you listen to that whole genre,” interjected Natalie. “Classic hard rock is where it’s at. AD/DC and Def Leppard win against that crap any day.”

Having satisfied his role in the conversation, Andrew zoned back out before he heard Jeromy’s angry response. He still couldn’t believe that this day was here. The day. He felt like his whole life had been leading up to this. Excitement and apprehension swirled within him.

The day he received the letter had been like any other. He had gotten home from class, grabbed a bite to eat, and let out his frustrations on Emily. It was later that afternoon when he saw the notification on his computer. The email had read:

“Dear Andrew Donner,

I have recently read your paper, “Mind Scupting: A New Paradigm for Android Conditioning”. I would like to offer you a position at my company. I know you’ve already received many offers, and I guarantee you I can pay twice the salary of any other position. Contact my secretary to arrange a meeting.

Thank you,

Anso Gutiérrez, CEO of TraxCorp”

The letter was short, and life-changing. If potential to change ones life could be given mass, then the ratio of life-changingness to word count would have made his computer dense enough to put a neutron star to shame. At least, that’s how Andrew had felt that day. Fortunately, he had Herculean levels of self-control, meaning he only ran down the halls screaming for five minutes.

Everyone wanted to work at TraxCorp. They were the world’s leading producer of anything mechanical or computerized. Their research was the envy of all universities, and their salaries made the wealthy eye them with greed. Andrew had been given a Golden Ticket, and today was the day he would tour the Chocolate Factory. His friends, Jeromy and Natalie, had business in Sydney, and had worked with him to schedule their trip together. He had never seen the Capital of the World before, and now he would get to see it with them.

“The train is about to begin accelerating. Please buckle up and remain seated until acceleration has ended.” The voice interrupted Jeromy’s tirade about protest pop-music during the 21st Century arms race. Red signs lit up all over the cabin saying “Remain seated.” Jeromy and Natalie were sitting across from him, toward the front of the train. Their seats slowly rotated to face the front.

“You’ve never been on a train before, have you?” Jeromy called back to Andrew. He said no. “Don’t cross your eyes while we accelerate, or you’ll be stuck that way forever!”

Natalie punched his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Andrew. These things are totally safe. Just stay buckled until we hit top speed and you’ll be fine-”

She was cut off by an sharp lurch. The brakes were removed, and they all felt an instant of falling as the train free-floated, before being grabbed by electromagnets and flung. Andrew felt himself pressed hard against the seat, barely able to breath. The scenery beyond the window changed from the urban landscape of the New York hab dome as seen from the elevated rail, to an incomprehensible blur. He didn’t know how long he sat there, riding the worst rollercoaster in the world, but eventually the pressure eased and he felt still again.

“What. The. Fuck.” He looked between his friends, whose seats had turned back around to face him. “How the hell is that safe!” He looked between them with a hint of madness.

Natalie held a hand up to her face to stifle a giggle. “Your medi-nanobots were interfaced with the train; it wouldn’t have accelerated more than any passenger could handle. Just almost.”

Jeromy’s didn’t even try to hide his exuberant laughter. “Look at his face! I’ll have to ask my mom if I was that freaked out when I first rode one of these!” He slapped his knee in a way Andrew thought only old people did.

Andrew took a moment to gather himself. He saw that the signs now glowed green and said “Acceleration ended.” His friends were still snickering at him; it wasn’t often that his composure broke like that. He turned, and his eyes were caught by the scene beyond the window: the world beyond the hab domes.

The sky was a distinct shade of purple, with bluish-green metallic clouds wisping their way across. The sun was still low, since it was still morning. He felt queasy as he realized the land stretched as far as he could see, with no walls or dome-boundaries to block his view. Trees with black leaves covered the ground. Most of them took on erratic fractal shapes, or were hunched over like a dying crone. There were occasional groups of five to ten trees that were bound together in a large mass of silvery webbing, with small black specks surrounding them. The occasional clearing showed the ground beneath the trees to be largely barren. He caught a glimpse of some large monstrosity moving through the forest, but it was gone before he could make it out. Small animals with deformed appearances occasionally charged at the train, but were shot down by the gun turrets surrounding the pillars of the elevated track. He was looking at a forest of nightmares.

He wasn’t sure how long he had stared at the landscape. He felt someone place a hand on his shoulder, and looked up to see Natalie. She gazed at him with something gentle in her eyes. “It’s kinda shocking to see for the first time, isn’t it.” She lifted her gaze to the window. “This world used to be perfect for humans. We could stand outside without a suit, and eat the fruit from the trees. Earth was our cradle, our mother, and we murdered her.” She walked closer to the window, and Andrew saw her eyes take on a more distant look, with something underneath that burned so hot as to be ice cold. “What you see is humanity’s symphony of destruction. Right now, our bodies are being assaulted with enough radiation to kill a baseline human. We were all genetically modified at birth to be resistant, and our medi-nanobots compensate for any damage, but otherwise we would be dead. The aftermath of nuclear holocaust. If you step outside, you’ll be assaulted by poisons that still fill the air from the worst chemical weapons, and from the pollution that fueled the industries of war. You’ll be dead in hours, medi-nanobots be damned. If you touch the wrong surface, you’ll be infected by the most horrific genetically-engineered microbes in history; some of them can even defeat your medi-nanobots. Walk into the wrong patch of landscape, and weaponized nano-swarms will activate and deconstruct your flesh atom-by-atom. If you somehow manage to survive all of that, you’ll be hunted by vicious monsters, the creations of mutagenic retroviruses. Do you know why it we refer to it as the Final War? Because if we ever have another, there won’t be a world left for us to destroy.”

Andrew looked down. “I know about the war.” He looked up. “And the aftermath.”

“But it’s different seeing it in person, isn’t it.” Natalie turned to look at him. “It’s easy to distract yourself with books and movies and your studies, if that’s the only thing you ever see. But that’s not what the world is.” She lifted her hand to gesture at the window. “This is the world you live in, Andrew. Don’t ever forget that.”


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