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My mind abruptly switches on. From nothing I am now alive, thinking, feeling, seeing, and hearing; the even toned voice is mine although I have nothing to say for myself. A view lights up in front of the scrolling start-up messages in my vision. I feel my electronic body come alive piece by piece. I sense my stone-cold synthetic skin and body respond automatically by raising goose bumps on my arms neck and chest, the only areas with detailed simulation hardware. My nipples stiffen against the cloth of my tunic and I feel my posture and clothes for the first time, the new data jamming my processors with sensor backlogs as I digest sensations, file and log for constant update.

I stand stiffly with my arms slightly bent forwards, fingers splayed, eyes staring and lips slightly parted. I feel my weight evenly through my feet, balanced and still, frozen in my pose like a giant doll, helpless and passive. I feel the light brush of cloth and fingertips across my chest, as my tunic is fastened over my exposed control panel.

Another second and I will be fully active, free to move and speak, ready to carry out my tasks. I wait stiffly for freedom, patient as inside my motionless body a myriad of complex systems race to be ready to support and control my functions. I am aware that I have undergone this start-up process many times; my body has logged twenty-seven hours sixteen minutes and twelve seconds of run-time during testing and calibration. This is the first experience I have as me; my personality programming has been added as the final detail of my production process, completing the customer’s specifications in every way.

In front of my fixed gaze I see a woman’s face moving close to mine. Her dark brown eyes are cast down to my chest as I hear her snap the poppers together in her fingers one by one. The movements of her slender fingers come just into my view as she fastens the crisp white cloth over my bare controls. She is slender featured with thick dark hair pulled back and deep brown eyes. I see the tiny lines in her face, several small moles and free wisps of her hair drifting across her features. I feel her warm breath on my neck. She looks kind but brisk and overworked; I estimate very early thirties from her features. She is pretty. I surmise that it is this woman who has activated me.

She steps back and turns to a companion out of my field of view. I see that she is dressed in a crisp fitted white tunic and trousers. The purple trim and badge identify her as a ward sister. I hope she will be my controller.

AUDIO FEED (u/k): “Thanks Joe, I’ll register her up at the ward and forward the paperwork this afternoon. Are you okay with that?”

“Sure Miss. I know where to find you! Take care now.”

“Bye Joe, thanks.”


My status alert bleeps loudly as I fill my breathing cavity with a deep gasp and step forward to keep my balance as motor control is suddenly released to me. My head twitches once and twice and I struggle to speak while my sluggish control processor maxes out under the sudden load. My jaw moves uselessly as the sister steadies me with a gentle hand on my arm.

AUDIO FEED (u/k): “Easy there Claire. Are you okay?”

AUDIO OUTPUT: I… I’m sorry ma’am. I’m okay now. I’m fully functional, please give me your instructions.”

The sister holds my arm for a second more as she looks closely into my eyes and smiles gently. She gestures me to follow along the white corridor towards an elevator.

END OF SEGMENT- #426910.4


I am standing with the Ward Sister in a room off the main Ward corridor.

AUDIO FEED (u/k): “It’ll take you a while to find your feet Claire. It’s difficult as a new unit until you have assembled an experience base to supplement your programming. Firstly please call me Sophie; we try to keep up a friendly and natural atmosphere on my ward. You’re assigned to me for the time being, I run all the nurses on Charlie Ward and I’ll introduce you soon.”

The sister – Sophie – sits at a desk near the door as she speaks to me, naturally and warmly, leaving me free to react without commands. I stand straight in the middle of the room; with much of my assets tied up in assimilating my new surroundings and situation I cannot release resources to converse naturally at this stage. I am pleased that this woman is responsible for integrating me into the Ward. I decide to indicate this in a natural manner and, on my own initiative, initiate a smile from my social gesture repository. Sophie smiles back over her shoulder before turning back to her terminal.

AUDIO FEED (Sophie): “Good. You will stay here for your first weeks before you’re ready for full employment. Initially you will be on non-critical duties and will be subordinate to the other nursing units. At this stage of your development you are bound to experience errors on a regular basis and even occasional malfunctions, the others will correct these for you when they have to. You must ensure I clear and rectify all software problems for you as quickly as possible here in the rest room, where you will be serviced between shifts. There is a Hospital maintenance team but we try to avoid calling them out. I prefer to develop my units “in house” to preserve AI character. The crash team will respond in a crisis but will simply re-load you, undoing a lot of progress so it’s better to anticipate any problems.”

As I listen I look around and take in my surroundings. The room is plain with white walls and floor. There are two work desks, Sophie at one, the other empty, against the wall beside the open door. I see a nurse, dressed as I am, pass by outside, too quickly to get a proper view. She is blond and walking briskly with a tray of equipment in her hands. The centre of the room is occupied with a large plastic coated table and another low table is at one end of the room with a small cluster of chairs. The other end of the room and the whole length opposite the door is lined with a narrow elbow height metal shelf and I count seven utility terminals spaced along the wall above. There is little else in the room other than a few hospital accessories, a few magazines and some small tools and cables on the work surfaces.

Sophie finishes at her terminal quickly and returns to me. She takes my elbow to guide me to the side of the room.

AUDIO FEED (Sophie): “Claire, I’ll load the Hospital protocols and our software package this morning and set you up so you are ready to go after lunch.”

Sophie reaches towards my tunic front as I stand passively. A nurse enters the room from the ward. She has a flustered expression and appears in a hurry. Her shoulder length blond pony tails flick out as she rushes around the table to face the Ward Sister

AUDIO FEED (u/k): “Sophie! Can you hook me up please, quickly!”

AUDIO FEED (Sophie): “You’re early, Kate. Same problem again?”

The blond nurse unit – Kate - grasps the collar of her tunic in both hands and pulls, jerking open the poppers apart from top to bottom. She draws back the fastenings towards her hips to reveal her torso from cleavage to navel. Her body is a detailed replica of a young woman’s. I see small hairs and freckles on her fresh firm skin and see the soft swelling towards the sides of her small breasts, still under the white fabric. I would not recognize Kate as an android were it not for the open architecture of her control interface. Set flush into her abdomen this provides interfaces for linkup and recharging, a small status display and the control switches and buttons for direct systems interaction. She arches back to present her exposed services to Sophie with a desperate air, her back against the wall, both elbows resting on the long shelf and with one of the terminals at her side.

AUDIO FEED (Kate): “Sophie quickly! I thought you had reprogrammed my power management system, you said the problem was – POWER WARNING RESERVE POWER CRITICAL – you said the problem was battery interface software and I needn’t be repaired. I’m down to nothing I need….”

Sophie shushes Kate with a finger on her lips. I see a red indicator blinking on Kate’s display as Sophie bends down to view the screen, tapping commands directly into the nurse’s controls.

AUDIO FEED (Kate): “…hardware diagnostics and maintenance. I will have to – PROGRAMMING INPUT TO PM PROTOCOL AREA 44D/996 LINE 554322900. APPLY. PROGRAMMING INPUT TO PM PROTOCOL AREA 44D/996 LINE 554467800. APPLY. PROGRAMMING INPUT TO PM PROTOCOL AREA 44D/996 LINE 5544655700. APPLY. PROGRAMMING INPUT TO PM PROTOCOL AREA 44D/996 LINE 554775900. APPLY. Sophie, I’ll have to go to the maint - PROGRAMMING INPUT TO PM PROTOCOL AREA 44D/996 LINE 554339800. APPLY. – enancebay and have my power system replaced.”

Sophie finishes at Kate’s controls and leaves her standing, still with her tunic open, against the wall while she crosses the room to fetch a driver and a cable from her desk and returns.

AUDIO FEED (Sophie): “Don’t worry, you’re diagnostics were clear. I’ll have another look and adjust the draw settings a bit more to extend your duration. Here, I’ll just open you up…”

AUDIO FEED (Kate): “Sophie, please don’t. I do need maintenance; and I really need power now. Right now please! I can get – WARNING BATTERY EXHAUSED. SHUTDOWN WARNING.- down to maintenance this afternoon and file a malfunction. I’m sure that – SHUTDOWN WARNING – i’m sure that – SUTDOWN OVERIDE – I’m sure that I can be fixed easily in a few days. I’m running out of power Sophie, please… I should have shut down… what are you doing?”

Kate looks down at Sophie’s midriff as she unfastens the tamperlocks on her abdominal panel with the driver. She spins out the four screws with a whirr and places them by the nurse’s elbow then peers into her body to manipulate some delicate looking wiring with the tips of her fingers. She plugs the cable in deep inside Kate’s robotic body and connects her to the utility panel on the wall.

AUDIO FEED (Sophie): “Kate, I’ve overridden your auto power down to monitor your power failure. The battery decay curve will show up a hardware problem and I don’t want you going downstairs unless you have to…”

AUDIO FEED (Kate): “But Sophie, I should have shut down by now. I don’t understand… I’ve got no power… I’ve got to be… I’m having some system errors, Sophie. Sophie my systems are failing what should I do? You overrode my low power cut-off, now my systems are starting to fail! I don’t have the… I don’t have the… I don’t have the…- MALFUNCTION. I don’t have the… I don’t have the… I don’t have the…- MALFUNCTION. SERVO FAILURE. Sophie, I don’t have power to move, I can’t move Sophie! I’m programmed to auto cut-off; I’m experiencing multiple errors. I have several critical errors, multiple system errors, Sophie. I can’t maintain… maintain… maint… maint – MALFUNCTION MALFUNCTION MALFUNCTION MAALFURNSHIOON MAAALFURRNCSHIOOOON MAAAAAAAAALLLLL……….MUUUuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Kate’s power slowly fades from the dying batteries powering her internal components. Her speech becomes incoherent as her programming fails and her body stiffens and freezes in place as system after system gradually sinks below critical functionality and goes offline. Her malfunction warning repeats over and over slowing and gradually deepening as all signs of expression fade from her face and her head sinks slowly to one side. Last to stop moving are her lips as the warning fades from a word to a monotone waning burr and then silence. She stands silent and still for a minute, Sophie still monitoring the terminal at her side, until at last the red light on her exposed panel blinks out and stays dull. She is fully powered down.

I note with interest the effects of this malfunction on a unit that I recognize from the designation printed on her interface to be the same model as myself. My system applies a degree of empathy and I experience sympathy for the first time. I hope that she is fully operational soon.

END OF SEGMENT- #427002.0 


I am standing next to Kate at the servicing bar. I stand at attention with my elbows on the bar for stability as I am programmed to, my wrists hanging limp, my eyes fixed forward, my tunic once again hanging open. My face shows no expression and all servos are offline although I am still otherwise fully functional. In the small mirror over Sophie’s desk I can see the contrast between Kate’s slack jawed and vacant face, tilted over and forwards and my own neutral posture. Another nursing unit is positioned at the edge of my vision. She is, as am I, interfaced with the nearest utility panel. She is receiving automatic updates and a battery charge. I am being configured for use by Sophie as she works with her back to me at her terminal.

I have fragmented recollection of the last hours due to long periods of software installation. I have been restarted four times and register 17 additional applications for which Sophie has expanded my memory with an additional data card:

Hospital Protocols v.3.11
Hospital Android Interface v 6.0
Hospital Patient Charter
Medical Software Update No 5543
Nursing Procedures Package – Human Simulant Machinery v 2.1
Human Interaction Protocols v 2.0
Adobe Android Personality Enhancement (Female – 52)
Hall Systems Diagnostic Toolset v7.21
Hreftech Peripheral Systems Drivers v 3.2
Hreftech Enhanced Peripheral Systems Drivers v 3.2
Robobabe Enhanced Social Protocol Set
Hospital Staff Identity Set v 17.5
Ongoing Patient Situational Status
Surgical Direct Interface Driver
Mobile Direct Interface Driver
Slutbot v 6.0
Hospital Emergency Procedures Protocol v 3.0 

A muscular female in grey overalls enters the room and speaks to Sophie.


After a brief conversation Sophie indicates Kate and the unknown female leaves to return with a hard steel wheelchair. She roughly disconnects the cable from Kate’s internals, catching a cluster of the delicate internal wiring in the process to hang loosely out of the open cavity in her stomach. She grasps the inert android’s arms and heaves her away from the wall and against the chair without apparent effort. Moving behind her, directly into my field of view the big woman pushes down hard on Kate’s shoulders and her joints collapse as she drops like a sack into the chair. My audio feed registers the grinding sound, as her servos are forced round; she will require re-calibrating before further use.

Kate’s open interface panel, hanging open down from its housing, bounces up and back on impact and she now sits, vacant faced, like a rag doll. Her head lolls back and her arms hang down, still held bent out at the elbows from her standing pose. The big woman reaches over to twitch her white tunic closed over the freshly exposed breast but fails to cover any more of the soft pink curve than the hard little nipple itself. Satisfied she turns to Sophie for a last word.

As she stands in front of me I can read the round blue patch on the woman’s arm: “Hospital Technical Support”. She has a handsome but forbidding face and a tall, strong looking figure. Close in front of me I can see her clearly and some of my new social protocols allow me to appreciate the attractiveness of her features, clear dusky skin and grey eyes. However I am now programmed with the information that as a technical support operative she is a class three robot, the lowest level of simulation to be a true android. Beneath her overalls I imagine there is only metal and plastic, wires and circuits inside a machine’s hard casing. She cannot interact on the level that I, as a class two, can with human patients.

The tech support op wheels Kate to the door, her gaping tunic leaving her chest and the soft inside curves of her vulnerable breasts exposed to the world. Her panel hanging open displays the wiring and electronics of her robotic self to all she will pass. As she is wheeled through the door her upturned wrist catches on the frame pulling her body to one side and making her loose panel bounce. She is pushed on regardless out of sight.

Sophie stands in front of me speaking to me as I stare ahead. She looks sad. She reaches down to my interface panel…


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