It was her smile that haunted him. The one that held back the tears. The "It's all okay" smile. Sitting here, he remembered.... "I wish I could make all the rough times you went through go away." "It's alright honey. I promise. It's made me who I am." And she smiled that smile, and turned to leave...
He looked down at her. Sleeping in their bed. The memory had rekindled the guilt he kept hidden down. The longing for some of her quiet imperfections. He could program those, he thought. Her AI was incredibly advanced, even those he respected enough to show what really lie under her skin were impressed. She was his dream. He had her, and had taken all her tears away. He had it all... they're darker than normal.. He thought to himself as she looked up at him with her soft choclatey eyes.
"I'm sorry I'm just sitting here. I'll start dinner in a moment, I'm just feeling a bit tired."
"Let me give you a quick massage. You'll feel better."
She complied, she always did. She didn't know why him running his smooth, strong hands over her back made her feel so much better. But she accepted the magical way he touched her body long ago. She stretched her lithe frame out over the bed, sliding her shirt off as she did so. He slid his hands up her smooth legs and rounded the curve of her pert bum, chuckling and commenting that she simply must get more pants that show her off this nicely, before sliding them over the soft skin of her back. After a few brief caresses, he slid his hand over her L3 and just about two inches to the left, depressing a small thumbprint. He lowered his ear to her back, listening for the sounds of breathing and heartbeat to cease until all he heard was the soft whirr inside her chest.
He laid there for a while. Listening to the subtle sounds of the machinery that made her live. As much music to his ears as any heartbeat, any laugh, any sound she made.
Sighing, he reached up, slowly sliding his hand under her hair and pressing on either side of the nape of her neck. Slowly, with louder whirrs and a slow pop the entire casing of her back slid open, moving to the sides like cargo doors awaiting delivery.
Looking down at the circuitry and subtle indicators, all appeared normal. Scanning the wiring he softly chuckled, as he always did, seeing her serial number. It had been a joke so long ago. He shook his head to refocus and carefully caressed the sleek paths the wiring made within her. And being rewarded with a soft sigh escaping her lips.
Carefully he connected his laptop to her dataport and flipped the switch. Initiating her data-check mode.
"Good Evening Sir. Is all well?"
"Not sure, it appears more battery power has been used today than normal. Run Diagnostic. Download Data Gathered."
The whirring picked up in volume and pitch, followed by a cacophony of running lights withing her.
While scanning the data filling the AI program, he noticed something unusual...
There were so many details he had added in to this last upgrade. The overhaul of her wiring and circuitry, and most importantly the nuances of programming her AI to accept them all had been arduous at best.
He was so preoccupied with it all, he not only almost forgot to have her call in, but almost forgot to upload the memory for her illness as well. A small cpu, networked with a few sound equalizers had been place about where her liver should be. Housed in a light casing that was about the size of his fist.
From here trailed the three largest of the blue wires to her chest cavity. Each ending in a small, dime sized speaker. There were other smaller blue wires, extending out from the processor, out to her wrists, her ankles and brances off these main wires to her armpits and inner thighs.
It was a little off from normal standards, but this was her heart. Her soft breath and gentle lulling rhythm actually were created here.
His greatest pride was the cross programming he'd done with her main CPU. Allowing this one to receive signals of 'stress indicators' to actually cause her 'breath' and 'heartrate' to rise.
He checked the light orange wire leading up into her skull. It appeared fine. However would need to remove her face plate to confirm this additonal part of the last major overhaul was working as designed.
He went ahead with the verification, depressing a baby blue button towards the middle of her spine, causing her joints to release so he could pull her up into a sitting position.
Biting his lip - a habit he actually got from her - he swiveled around and slid his fingers around her ears, pressing the soft fingerprint indentions directly behind her earlobes, and pulled her faceplate forward a quarter of an inch. Then he pushed again on the indentations to have the cables release themselves from her faceplate and carefully tugged it off the stabilizers with a soft pop.
He gently caressed her chilled cheek before setting it down on the bed next to her.
Her now black, blank eyes stared back at him eerily. He loved her, and loved her more as she was now, but her eyes like that...always gave him a slight shiver.
He slowly and meticulously pushed aside the soft apricot wires that helped her make a myriad of facial expressions to get to the systems behind those. Underneath these, near her eyes, and in each cheek cavity were two small resevoirs filled with fluid.
Not water, but a silicon compound that a chemist friend of his had created just for her. This wouldn't harm her interior and her precious circuitry, and it flowed with the same consistency and viscosity as lightly salted water.
The resevoirs were fine. No leaks, cracks, etc. The small ducts leading from these to the corners of her eyes were working fine, and he verified there weren't any additional leaks or cracks by pressing gently on the resevoirs. He leaned back and smiled softly to himself.
Yes, he had taken most of them away, but she wasn't the same without them, so he'd given her back her tears. Programming for days on what stimuli, what memories, and the other multitude of events in a daily life that would cause her to cry and the amount and reactions for each tear that fell.
Some memories he left out. Some influences he still did not want her to have.
While peeking in and verifying the tiny cpu that controlled the flow of the ducts was working as programmed, he snuck a peak at her optical systems.
There were two major processors here. One behind each eye.
One collected data for storing and separation later, such as human interactions that could be programmed into AI, printing, letters, logic, and the like.
The other was like a permanent camera. Storing and housing various collections of faces and places.
She was almost like a permanent tourist. Constantly collecting snapshots of people around her, their facial expressions, their likes. Some of these would be removed and placed into code, for faster access from her databanks. Others would stay as pictures, colorful points of reference.
He looked away and blinked a few times to clear his vision. It seemed he never had time to check things as extensively as he should, mostly because he relived memories as he did so. He could remember every mishap and error sequence, every new upload, every new meticulous wiring configuration. More than that, he remembered every moment spent next to her side in minute detail.
She had always been perfect to him. From the moment he opened the door; her hand poised in mid-air to knock again; her ever changing eyes sparkling with colors; and her bright, laughing smile. He wanted her to remain so perfect. But she was more perfect now...
"You always strove to be what you are today. Ironic isn't it, love?" He said to noone in particular.
He needed to do more work on the components that made her mind and highly detailed data collection systems. Even through the memories, the word "Incident" kept flashing through his mind like the neon lights of Vegas. He sighed and settled down for some more indepth research.
With a gentle caress of her arms, he rose and smiled down at her.
"I'm going to get some coffee, love. This looks like it will be a while." He went to the kitchen and started the coffee.
Then walking back into the room, he checked the laptop. The diagnostic program had completed and he pondered whether to go ahead with researching the data collected there now. However, he wanted to check a few more items within her hardware instead. So a quick glance down at his laptop ensured the diagnostic download had all saved properly.
He also made a quick check that her memories and data for the day were downloaded onto Mnemosyne, her separate data collection backup tower. It was saving. He figured the coffee would be ready, since it was just a little four cup pot and retrieved his mug. Setting it down on a nearby nightstand, he made her more comfortable, getting her ready for a few more checks.
Removing all cords, he began to close her back panel, giving her inner detailed wiring one last loving caress before resealing it.
He knows that even now, as she is completely shut down, he feels her respond to him and knows that she feels his every motion.
He picked her up and sat her down on the floor, leaning her up against the foot of the bed.
She's getting colder...he thought to himself.
With her systems completely shut down like this, not even what he coined her 'subliminal AI' would operate. Her body temperature wasn't maintained. There was no soft breathing nor gentle rhythmic heartbeat. Her eyes didn't blink back at him. And her hands lie still at her side, not reaching out for him, nor moving her hair behind her ear. (That was one of her most endearing habits, and of course the first one programmed in.)
At first, all these involuntary idiosyncrasies had been uploaded onto simply one processor, and were all contained within one program. Her first 'Interrupt Overload' Shutdown had quickly taught him the error of his ways.
He wanted to check that now, and make sure there were no damaged processors, frayed wires, or other (heaven forbid) broken hardware componets in her head. First he'd verify all the systems worked, then he'd work on programming.
Sliding his finger carefully over her smooth synthetic glass eyes he flipped two small purple switches located back and to the right of each eye. He then depressed a button of the same color under her chin. Her 'Personality Projection' area rose a quarter of an inch and separated at the middle, falling open like bay doors to the side.
(He named it that simply because these were the mechanisms that controlled all the 'cues' to her thoughts and facial expressions and they were housed in the hardware he was currently simply pushing aside.)
He let both halves of her facial region fall gently open, exposing her delicate and far more extensively defined 'brain'. Here were wires so tiny that one needed a hand sturdier than the best surgeons to work. Only someone as persnickety as him could have designed this. And only someone like her could have inspired him to.
First he would verify the power monitoring programming was working. Seeing her eyes so dark had him terribly worried. Luckily the one and only time she lost had power in public, she was with him, and he was able to carry her to the car.
Her eyes would still indicate power levels moved to the side as they were, so he connected his palm sized laptop to the tiny diagnostic service inlet. He changed the flow of power through the video wires to her eyes. They were at first a vibrant, deep emerald, indicating full power. Then as he lessened the current along the line, saw them fade to a light peridot, then to a gentle wolfish-yellow citrine to fall-leaf-brown topaz, down to a dark tiger's eye color. Usually her eyes varied at the peridot/topaz level, unless it was early morning and she was at full charge.
"So you were rather tired today, love." He whispered to her, picking up her hand and kissing her palm lightly.
"Perhaps its a simple battery issue, and I'm being paranoid, no?"
To be continued...
He sighed and leaned back in his chair. Checking the battery components individually would be very tedious indeed.
He figured he'd start with a preliminary system test before continuing with any more hardware examinations.
Very carefully he repositioned her interior facial hardware, making sure everything 'clicked' into place. Looking across the bed, he picked up her faceplate, kissing each cheek and the forehead lightly before repositioning it over the multitude of tiny apricot wires reaching out from her hardware for it.
He made sure she was running on AC power (He was glad noone ever asked him why his electric bill was so high.), and depressed the small indentation on her back, next to her L3 again.
He listened close to her chest for the almost inaudible sound of each of her cpus coming online and the sound of the servos booting.
Leaning forward, he kissed her. This was another of his favorite idiosyncracies programmed within her. At the pressure of his lips on hers, her small cables connected with her faceplate. He smiled at the sound of them all connecting, like a quick, soft rain against her skin. Her lips curled up in a smile beneath his and returned the tender kiss.
"Start up sequence complete. Next Command?"
She looked at him with a fixed smile and wide eyes, that fluctuated between a light topaz brown to a dark emerald green.
"Verify AC charging is stable throughout components."
He could almost see the computations running inside her pupils, and smiled at her as she responded quickly.
"Current is steady. No systems reporting any shorts or loss of power input."
Great, no internal shorts, this wasn't turning out to be something easy. He thought to himself. "Battery System Test."
Her battery system he appreciated too, though he received quite a bit of harassment from his buddies about the design. He wanted someplace that would be reasonably sturdy, and would allow for quite a bit of storage room, without taking up so much of her internal space. He also wanted something that would allow him to provide her with immediate power, no matter where the cpu needing it was housed.
So, he built her a spinal battery column. They acted like one huge battery most times, but each one supplied it's own little neighborhood with power. If her breathing/heartrate cpu needed the extra current to produce a faster rate, it would pull from it's closest battery, while the farther away ones would replenish power used across the board.
She usually had consistent high charge, because she was constantly intaking solar energy through her soft, human like, hair. (Another wonderous gift from his chemist friend.) He'd found a synthetic silicon substance that for all intents worked like a fiber optic strand, but was lighter, and less susceptible to damage from the elements. (And responded well to dying. So it made her feel more like a woman.)
This energy was collected in a small unit, about where a person's cerebellum is (it was actually a little lower), and fed into the battery system for dispersal.
"Besides." he told himself. "You had other plans for that area. She can't possibly hold a battery there."
"Check complete. Battery System shows functioning at full capacity. Charge capacity fluctuating. Unit is on AC Power only."
Looking at her eyes, he debated taking her outside to test the solar charging systems.
"Current Charge Level?" he inquired.
He watched her eyes again.
Her eyes widened and flashed a brilliant blue. Then back to light topaz. "Respond" he said, sliding closer and holding her arms in his hands. "Respond!"
Feeling his arms, she blinked, leaned forward and kissed him.
Her head fell to his shoulder. Then straightening back up she said "I lo-...Battery Sys-..Che-...Com-...System Fail-..PLEASE St-...I lov-..."
Her eyes closed. "AI OVERRIDE. SYSTEM SHUTDOWN."
He held her cold body to him and listened to her power down. Looking back up at her face he simply stared in confusion.
Looking back at him were her cold, dark eyes. She looked so lost and empty as a small synthetic tear clung to her cheek.
To be continued...