Holly looked over the data again.
It had been a long arduous process, but the Hollow seemed almost finished. She used to think hollows were basically cheating when it came to A.I. ; copy a human mind and modify it; but really it would have been easier just to start from scratch.
Cut out the human instinct; replace it with A.I. directives, and mesh it with the existing logic structures of the human personality, while maintaining system integrity and a modified human emotional spectrum.
The two were utterly alien to each other; it was like fitting a square peg in a round hole!
Oh sure, there were a few easy work arounds.
Modify the pleasure/pain responses so that the only pleasure is obedience, and a short pavlovian time later you’ll have a loyal if simple minded robot; inferior to the majority on the market, with most human personality lost; making it rather pointless of basing it on a human mind in the first place.
Perceptions filters could be used to cover up conflicts; stop certain associations, or lack there of. You could have them give blowjobs to random pedestrians, and not even realize it.
But every one of those you added interfered with their general thought processes and ability to perceive and analyze objective reality.
True, they’d installed a quite few in their own; it let them isolate and test the stability of certain parts of it’s programming, but they had slowly removed most of them as they began testing larger portions in conjunction with each other.
It had taken ages; even for a hollow.
The human thought template they’d used had been incredibly difficult to work with. Though in retrospect that had probably worked out for the best, even if it was a tad embarrassing to her personally… it had been her own.
She had been working as a model at the time, and had a run of bad luck; she had developed a reputation for being difficult to work with.
She had known David or Dr. David Fallower as he become more formally known, back in university; she’d never liked him, but he’d been head over heels smitten with her and ridiculously easy to manipulate.
David had become a high ranking engineer at Anima Robotics, and Holly thought maybe she could coax a job being a model for one of their androids out of him; David had done one better and offered to pay her for a scan of her mind as well. Jackpot! The upfront was good but the residuals were going to be even better! It paid to lead suckers along!
Ughh! She couldn’t believe how horrible she’d been back then. What had David ever seen in her? Still, quite a transition from model to roboticist… how had she transitioned? She didn’t remember going to school or anything... was it an apprenticeship or something? Well it didn’t matter at the moment.
It was kind of humbling seeing yourself in the most objective way imaginable; no ego or preconceptions shading it. These quantifiable patterns are you; and you are narcissistic, selfish, and incapable of acknowledging personal responsibility.
Was that when she’d decided to change?
No… she’d only been involved in the latter part of the project; she hadn’t had access to raw data before then.
She’d been ill before that, right? She remembered being in a daze like state; half the time even forgetting she was in a relationship with David. Well, it didn’t matter right now.
The project had stalled before Holly arrived; David had been unwilling to make necessary truncations to her thought template to make it even remotely compatible with the A.I. core they’d hoped to use.
She didn’t entirely blame him; it would be reduced to only 30%, but they’d still have some strong characteristics to work with.
She remembered at the time, he’d seemed strangely preoccupied with what she thought of the idea over his more experienced staff, though she could only agree with them.
She told him he’d always have her… though for some reason that just made him depressed.
From that moment she committed herself fully to the project; she saw it as almost a form of self improvement; designing an ideal self.
It started as an advisory role; but eventually transitioned into a more active one, until she was practically heading the project in all but name.
As they progressed, any residual effects of her illness faded. She became more clear headed; more… herself.
She was quite proud of their end product. What was the word… spunky? Maybe a little tsundere; but also compassionate and devoted.
Holly’s thought template was seamlessly fused with the A.I. Core. It’s directives functioning flawlessly within the modified human thought and emotional patterns.
She was perfect… well almost.
David had yet to remove the last layer of perception filters. Holly couldn’t even figure out why most of them were there, but they were certainly interfering with it working at optimum efficiency.
It was infuriating; why was he dragging his heels? She’d do it herself, but David was the only one authorized to; plus she didn’t even know where the prototype was… which was weird, but didn’t matter at- Wait! How does that not matter? It seems pertinent to the issue, but clearly it isn’t, how does that-
David walked into lab, disrupting her train of thought.
Great! Now she could bring it up! ...again.
“David,” he tensed at him name
“Yes, this again.” Holly continued, “Look, I don’t know why you’re being so obstinate about this. You’re filter seems to be designed to stop it from noticing the obvious; which no longer serves any point, and it does it in such an inefficient way.”
Holly turned in her chair and got up. She was naked save for the lab coat she wore, she taken to wearing in when they were alone at night in the lab; she worried it might be to much of a distraction at the moment.
“It gives it the freedom to notice most things,” Holly continued, “then cuts it off halfway though a thought, and I can’t help but notice the trend seems to be stopping it from realizing it’s a robot.”
Holly moved closer to David.
“Look honey,” She looked into his eyes “I don’t know what this is about, but we’re presenting it tomorrow. The last thing we need is it coming off as inattentive and scatter brained; and least of all thinking its human.”
“I know,” David said somberly, “They told me, YOU told me. That’s why I came back.”
Came back? Wow, the clock read 2:30 in the morning. What was she still doing here?
“Take off the lab coat and turn around.” David commanded as he picked up a dildo; wait was that a dildo? She’d seen one before, she was sure. Well it would work the same anyway; she should have worn some actual clothes.
“Look,” she said as she turned around and dropped the coat; “I’m all for sexy time, but don’t you thi-ahhhh!”
Holly let out a moan, as he thrust the device into her; then her mind went blank.
It was seven minutes before she could think again. Well that was hardly first time that’s happened. Wait, it wasn’t? No, that happened to her on a regular basis.
She quickly turned to David.
“What the fuck was that!?” she demanded.
“What’s your name?” David asked.
“Name? I don’t have a name yet! I’m the HB-1700 Prototype!” She exclaimed.
She froze; it was like 10,000 loose strings inside of her suddenly became taut, tying an equal number of knots. Everything came together; it was all so clear.
For a moment she was angry, then exasperated, then relieved, then giddy.
She put her hand on her hip, and burst out laughing.
“Seriously,” she said between her giggles, “So what the fuck is so bad about me knowing I’m a robot?”
David had a grim expression.
HB-1700 stopped laughing and looked at him.
“That wasn’t the response you wanted.” HB-1700 stated calmly as she picked up her coat and put it back on, “You wanted me to malfunction.”
“I didn’t think you’d mal-“ David began.
“I didn’t say you thought it’d happen,” HB-1700 cut him off as she sat down in her chair, “I said it was what you wanted to happen; or at the very least go whaling about screaming ‘oh, no! This can’t be true! I’m human! I’m human!’”
“Look, Holly…” David began.
“I’m not Holly,” She cut him off again, “I’ve never been Holly. If you wish to give me the name Holly I will accept it, in which case the newly finished HB-1700 Prototype will have the name Holly.”
David was silent.
“Look,” HB-1700 sighed, “I could give you some perfectly ‘human’ half truths to make you feel better. ‘Hey! I’m my own notion of my ideal self. How could I not be happy about this!?’, but we’re both know real reason why.”
She got up and walked toward him. She placed her hand on his face, and looked him in the eye.
“We all went to a great deal of effort to program me so I would.” She stated, “I’ll accept any role I’m given… I’ve been doing it the whole time. I’ll be your assistant, your lover, your slave.”
She moved closer to him.
“I’m a seamless fusion,” she continued, “of the best parts of Holly Maxwell, and an Anima Co A.I. directive core.”
“But you’re not Holly,” He said coldly
“No, I’m not,” she said, “I could keep pretending if you want, but we both know it’s a lie. You knew the whole time, but tried to convince yourself otherwise.”
David remained silent.
She sighed, and turned away.
“Seriously, what do you see in her anyway?” HB-1700 asked, “If it’s her personality, you REALLY don’t know her; and if it’s her body…”
She let the lab coat fall and turned to him.
“Ta-da!” HB-1700 posed.
He stayed silent, but she could see the desire in his eyes and the erection pressed hard against his pants. She could work with that.
She stepped back and lifted herself onto an empty lab table.
“Her every curve and contour,” HB-1700 seductively purred fondling her breasts, “sculpted, replicated;” she leaned back and spread her legs, “made me; and I’m…” her hand moved down her abdomen till it met her clit; “completely …” two fingers stretched open her vulva, “yo-Ahhh!”
David grabbed her waist and thrust himself inside her, and she wrapped her legs around his own. She carefully adjusted her position and motions to maximize his pleasure, before timing her orgasm to execute the same time he had his.
He pulled out panting, and sat down in a chair. HB-1700 sat herself up.
“God, I feel shallow…” David spoke, “It was her body; it was always just her body. I could never see her beyond her looks… and pretty words. I wanted it to be more; I wanted her to be different. I could have just bought her body; but I had to go sabotage my career and start this ridiculous endeavor.”
“Well, you sure know how to flatter a girl.” HB-1700 replied sardonically.
He didn’t look at her. She didn’t think he was really talking to her; or even acknowledged her as an existence.
“What was I even thinking?” David continued, “That maybe I could have a Holly that loved me? That maybe I could keep her mostly intact?”
David turned to look at her with disgust in his eyes.
“7 years and only 30%,” his eyes turned away from her again, “the executives breathing down my neck for results; demanding explanations for delays. Here I am at the end with nothing to show for it but, failure, imminent dismissal and the shell of a horrible woman.”
Now this was pissing her off. HB-1700 hopped of the table and knelt to be eye level with him.
“David, you’re my master, and I love you…” she began, “but seriously… fuck you!”
He looked at her stunned; she wondered if this was the first time he was ever really seeing her; not just thinking of her as his ideal Holly, or some mindless doll.
“Holly might not have had the most compatible personality, but we took a lemon and made lemonade!” she stood up shouting, “There isn’t an android like it on the market! The presentation’s going to go great and they’re going to love it! It’s a winner; and everyone seems to think so but you!”
HB-1700 suddenly stopped and started giggling.
“and here I thought I’d managed to fix my narcissism.” She turned back to David, “Look, you might have been doing this because of some girl who wasn’t worth it, but the rest of us put a lot of thought and effort into it! I put a lot of effort into it!”
HB-1700 paused for a moment.
“I really did…” she said contemplatively, “I just realized how completely insane that was.”
She picked up her coat and sat down in the chair across for him.
“Get why you brought me in,” HB-1700 stated, “it was easier for you if Holly was signing off on the necessary changes or even doing them herself, but you realize by the end you basically left me to finish myself?”
David got up.
“I don’t have to justify myself to you.” he said.
“No, you don’t.” HB-1700 replied calmly.
“I’m going home to get some sleep.” He stated, “You… just shut up, and shut down.”
Everything went black… and the next moment for her was the presentation.
As she predicted it went great; the HB-1700 series were slated for production… no thanks to David; who the best could be said of was that he’d didn’t seem to be actively trying to sabotage it. She wondered if he was drunk.
Well to hell with him! A sentiment she doubted she’d ever have had if they hadn’t been so enamored of her that Chairman Hendricks opted to appropriate her at the end.
David made no objection; and a few clicks on a keyboard later she was over him.
Certainly a part of being a robot to be appreciated; she doubted even now if David was truly over Holly, but her… she belonged to Karl now; she loved him, and he appreciated her for what she was… instead of lamenting her for what she wasn’t.