Chapter 2 - Enter, Amber
When I went home that afternoon, I went straight into the bathroom and splashed my face with cold water and looked into the mirror. As I stared back into my own eyes I couldn’t help but be reminded of Sally’s when they were infused with A.I. In that moment she really did seem alive; she was an actual, real honest to goodness female human being. So, essentially I just willingly sent a human being that I created off to be sold as somebody’s companion for money.
A human being…
That I created...
What a silly notion.
She was manufactured and therefore would not be considered a human being. She was an artificially created extremely reasonable facsimile of a human being. And I had to keep telling myself that to feel better.
But what is a human being but a creature manufactured, not by humans, but by nature?
The next morning, I awoke and stared into the eyes of a woman whose face adorned a picture on my bed stand. I stared at her for the next few minutes, wondering to myself whether I had done the right thing or not. By the time Cran had walked in with a nice, hot cup of morning coffee, I still had not come to a satisfying conclusion. I got up and walked to my workstation upon which sat another picture of the same woman and I looked at her once again while still contemplating the implications of this experiment––still no conclusion.
I averted my eyes from the picture and turned my attention to the feed that was to allow me to see what Sally, the android, was seeing.
I took a sip of hot coffee, and turned to look at Cran, desperately hoping that his face would help me figure it all out.
It did not.
“Sir, are you excited to see Sally in action?” he asked me.
“It’s more like nervousness than excitement, Cran.”
“I see, sir. I think I feel some excitement myself.”
“No you don’t, but thanks.”
“You’re right, sir. I do not. But I am sure it will go smoothly.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, sir. I am not sure.”
My failure at programming Cran with more than two emotions had the fortunate side effect of ingraining him with a curious desire to please me. I did not feel the need to try and fix that.
I do enjoy our banter.
After a very long five minutes of anticipation I was finally able to see something other than her life stats; the vague outline of an indiscernible object suddenly engulfed my large holoscreen coupled with muffled audio of something resembling voices. Within seconds, the blurry blob morphed into the clear visage of 2 twenty-somethings with quite the look of astonishment sprawled across their oily faces.
A long and drown out “whoa” was the first discernible word to leave their mouths. Their hands started to caress Sally’s cheeks, but the man on the left quickly batted away the other’s hand.
“Hands off. She’s mine.”
“Dude, I gotta feel that. It looks so real,” said the somewhat chubby man on the right. Presumably they were speaking of her skin.
“Then touch her arm. Don’t touch her face. Only I can do that.”
“Fuck man, she looks so real. And she’s hot. How’d you pull this?”
“My dad is friends with that Axell guy, from Axell Corp. He needed someone to try out this new product. It’s like a mechanical girlfriend. The best part is she’s made to my specifications.”
“A custom-made bitch? How fucking perfect is that?
“I know, right? I can hardly believe it myself. I’m gonna have some crazy fun with this.”
They way they spoke of Sally made me extremely uncomfortable. But what could I do? She was this guy’s for the next seven days to do with what he wished. The one she currently belonged to was, as I could make out, not the pudgy one, but the thin, malnourished looking one on the left. His hair had a just-out-of-bed look mixed with horrible hair gel. I was confused as to whether or not that style was what he was intentionally going for or a mistake. I don’t usually judge books by their covers, but this guy looked like what some people might consider a douche bag. They both couldn’t be any older than twenty-one, if that.
“I wonder how you switch her on?” said Mr. Malnutrition.
“What the fuck are you talking about? She is on,” his friend said.
“No, I mean, she looks dead, lifeless. I feel like I’m being stared at by one of those dolls, just sitting there, smiling at me. It’s creepy. She must have some A.I. or something.”
“Oh. Well, what else does that say?”
The scraggily one skimmed the operation instructions I included with her until he found what he was looking for.
He read aloud, “The owner must speak this word directly and softly into her ear to activate: Kaa-Laa-Men-Chee-Ah.”
“Nothing happened. She still looks dead.”
“That’s because it says to whisper it directly into her ear, dumbass. What the hell kind of word is this anyway?”
He shrugged and brought his mouth to Sally’s ear and spoke the word into her ear as instructed, and when he did it felt… wet.
As soon as he drew his head away from hers, she immediately sprang to life.
“Wooo, it feels good to be alive, wouldn’t you two say?” Sally said with gumption. The two guys didn’t know how to respond. The skinny one look perplexed but pleased. The other just sat there with his mouth agape.
“So, which one of you lucky guys is mine?” Sally asked. The thin guy with the bad hairstyle quickly raised his hand.
“Me,” he answered.
Without hesitation, she threw her hands around him and kissed him square on the lips. The pimples on his cheeks and his Rosacea did not look pleasant up close, but Sally didn’t mind.
“Mmm, you’re a fabulous kisser, baby. And I love the red in your handsome face. It makes me feel like you’re always blushing, like you’re always happy to see me.”
He smiled a very toothy smile––the kid couldn’t believe his luck.
“And what’s your name?” Sally asked him.
“Ro––Rob. Just call me Rob.”
She caressed his chin with her fingers.
“Oooh, Rob. I like that. Now then, what’s my name?”
Her name was Sally, at least to me it was. For a fast second, I had forgotten that “Sally” would be tossed out. She certainly didn’t forget that the client was supposed apply a new name to her. For some reason, the feeling of sadness washed over me. But I shook it off.
“Um…” he struggled to remember.
“Don’t tell me you don’t have a name for me, Robby.”
“No, no. I have it picked out. It’s… um…”
“Aww, you’re nervous, aren’t you, baby? It’s ok. Come here.”
Sally dragged him to the couch, sat him down and jumped on his lap and planted another big kiss on his cheek. The large persistent smile on his face told me that he was, so far, very satisfied with Sally. I documented his response to her. Useful data.
“Oh yeah, of course,”––He snapped his fingers––“It’s Amber. Yeah, Amber.”
“Amber. I like it. And what’s his name?” she asked as she looked at Rob’s friend who had just joined them on the couch.
“He’s not important.”
The look in Rob’s eyes went from jubilated to slightly suspicious; he almost seemed jealous. His friend slapped him on the shoulder.
“Oh, come on. What’s his name?” Sally asked again. Rob turned to look at his buddy.
“Brandon,” he said.
Brandon looked to Rob, most likely to see if his expression had changed. It hadn’t.
“Well, nice to meet you Brandon.”
Sally extended her hand to Brandon palm down, as if she expected him to kiss it. He merely shook it lightly. Apparently the shake lasted a little too long for Rob’s liking as he abruptly separated the pair of hands that hung out in front of him.
“That’s enough,” said Rob.
“Baby, don’t be jealous. You’re mine and I’m yours, got it?” she said as she ran her fingers through the hard strands of gel-infused hair on top of his head. Rob nodded in understanding.
“No offense, Brandon, I know you want me and all, but Robby here’s my type,” she said as she kissed Rob once again on his lips. I was getting tired of seeing his face up close and wished they would do something that wouldn’t allow for so much affection.
“So, what are the three of us going to do today, huns?”
“The three of us aren’t gonna do nothing. Brand, go home, dude,”
“I’ll call you later. Go home.”
Brandon looked put-off as he stood to leave.
“All right, man. See you later.”
They performed some sort of young handshake, probably one of their own design. Brandon looked like he wanted to shake Sally’s hand good-bye, but decided against it.
“Bye,” was all he said.
“Bye, Brandy. Hope to see you soon.”
“Yeah,” he said, as he nervously looked to his friend, Rob. But Rob’s attention was fixed on Sally, or, Amber as she was now known for the time being.
She watched Brandon as he left, and as soon as she was sure that he was gone, she turned her attention back to Rob and leaned back on the coach.
“Soooo. Robby. We seem to be alone.”
“Yeah. We are.”
“Soooo. Robby. What do you think we should do?”
“Um, I don’t know,” is what he said, but the smirk on his face told me what he had in mind.
“How about you give me a tour of this luxurious palace?” she said. She was not exaggerating. Everything I could see from her perspective was quite spectacular. A large, sparkling chandler hung from the room they were in. I could see an old fashioned picture frame the size of the wall right behind Rob’s head depicting, presumably, a painting of his family. This house all seemed pristine, very white.
“Okay. I’ll give you a tour. I know just the place to start.”
“Mmm, I hope it’s the place I’m thinking of.”
Funny, I don’t remember programming Sally with such sexual desire.
She grabbed hold of Rob’s hand as he led her through the house. He arbitrarily pointed at different rooms as they passed by them.
“That’s the a closet. That’s another closet. That’s the pantry. Here’s the kitchen. Do you want something to…?” and he stopped himself before he realized whom he almost offered refreshments to. The woman, now known as Amber, laughed.
“There’s only one thing I’m hungry for, Robby.”
She looked down toward his feet, or rather, that’s the direction her head pointed, but I think her eyes were aimed elsewhere. She lightly touched his lower stomach area then looked up to see his reaction. It was certainly a happy one.
He led her up the winding staircase and down a hallway with many doors facing them.
“And which one is yours?” she asked him.
“That one way at the end.”
“Ooooh, way down there? The wait is killing me.”
Rob no doubt took that as a sign to hurry, and so he started to rush towards his room. But Sall––Amber, stopped him.
“No, no. Slow down. The anticipation will make it that much better,” she said, and she giggled and licked him playfully on the cheek. I didn’t like what she was implying I would have to witness.
They continued walking slowly down the hallway.
“That’s the bathroom.”
“That’s a large walk-in closet.”
“Really? How interesting.”
“That’s a spare bedroom.”
They finally reached the end of the hallway and stood in front of another door adjacent to the door he indicated as his room.
“And what is this room used for?”
“That’s my parents bedroom,”
“I was hoping you’d say that. It’ll be fun trying to keep my voice down.”
She giggled through the big kiss she gave him. It was, unfortunately, much wetter than the previous ones. The sounds produced were not pleasant to my ears––it was a good thing all I had ingested up to that point had been coffee.
Rob turned Amber around and opened the door to his room, continuing to kiss all the way to the bed. Amber plopped down on the edge of it.
“Robby, this is a very nice set up you have here.”
She looked around; the contents of his bedroom were just a gaudy as everything else in the rest of his house had been, but slightly more personalized. Full-motion posters of a couple of bands and the latest cars, and tasteless ones of near-naked females, hung on his walls. The bands in the posters played away on their instruments while the cars drove down endless highways. The girls in the posters, some in lingerie, others in the smallest bikinis one can imagine, seemingly––and most likely programmed to do so––blew kisses in Rob’s direction. It was typical bedroom adornment for a guy his age.
“Those girls are pretty cute huh?” said Amber, as she nodded in the direction of one of the girls blowing him kisses.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he said nonchalantly.
“But who’s cuter, them or me?” Amber asked Rob.
“Well…. You, of course.”
Amber jumped up and wrapped her legs around Rob, kissing him all over his face.
“Right answer. You really know how to make a girl feel special.”
She hugged him tightly around his neck. As she did so, she noticed a mirror behind him. She unwrapped herself from Rob and headed toward it. She checked herself out in the mirror: front, sides and back.
“Ooooh, very nice.”
The shawl I provided her had been discarded and in its place was a red mini skirt, just long enough that her lady parts were not exposed, but tight enough to know what parts of her were anatomically correct. She wore matching red pumps.
Rob walked up behind Amber and spooned her as she looked at herself in the mirror and kissed her on the neck.
“Who picked this out for me?”
“I did. Do you like it?”
“Like it? I love it. You have great taste, babe.”
I personally found it unoriginal, but I’m not so sure that I didn’t fantasize about women like her in the exact same getup when I was his age.
“Mmm, I bet I know what you’d like to do with these clothes,” she said. He looked a little confused. He didn’t get it, so she had to spell it out for him.
“You’d like to take them off, huh?”
Rob nodded. Amber led him back to the bed and she once again sat on the lip of it.
Rob, once again, looked perplexed. That was his default face. She scooted back onto his bed and leaned back.
“Go ahead, do your worst,” she said. Rob’s face lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning standing in front of a mound of presents; he didn’t know which parcel to start with. He crawled awkwardly onto the bed with her. His eyes darted back and forth between all points of her body.
I put my head in my hands and begun tugging at my hair in frustration, knowing what was going to happen and knowing that I was going to have to sit through all of it for data collection. Suddenly, the sounds of mechanical parts in motion prompted me to look up. Cran’s eyes were at work, quickly magnifying the images on the feed. This was curious behavior.
“Cran, do you know, or have some idea of what may happen next between these two?” I curiously asked him. Every once in a while I would ask him a random question to check his level of coherence in the hopes that maybe some of my programming would manifest later.
“Sir, it seems to me that they may actively be taking steps toward copulation, or, as it’s more commonly referred to, sexual intercourse. Am I correct, sir?”
Again, I just nodded.
“Good. I have never witnessed this. This should provide me with some much needed new information, sir.”
We both turned our attention back to the feed.
Rob now had his hand on Amber’s left breast, staring at it while rubbing it incessantly. Amber moaned for him. I moaned, too, but for an entirely different reason.
“Yeah, Robby, that feels real good.”
He continued on for what seemed like an excessive amount of time. Something told me that this guy was a virgin. His utter lack of finesse reminded me of how I was when it was my first time at bat.
Then suddenly, she stopped him.
“Robby,” she said, and she pointed downward. His head followed and his smile widened two fold. She had opened her legs wide and, for lack of a better phrase, revealed herself to him.
I wanted to look away, but I did not, for data collection purposes, and, I will not lie, because of sheer curiosity. I still had great inner turmoil; as horrified as I was at what I knew I had to potentially witness, I desperately wanted to know how my design of a human body held up in every situation possible, sexual or not.
Damn the scientist in me.
He looked up to her face shyly, asking with his eyes, if it was okay.
She slowly and very seductively nodded her head.
He looked back down with his hungry eyes and quickly jabbed a finger between her legs and pulled and prodded at her artificial labia.
“Does that hurt?” he asked.
“Not at all. It feels so good,” she lied. I had not implemented her with pain or pleasure sensors.
I have a feeling that if she had been a real human being her answer would have been quite different. He slid a single finger into her, took it out and sniffed it. He was surprised.
“It doesn’t smell like fish,”––he sniffed it again––“It doesn’t smell like anything,” he said in astonishment, mostly to himself. He had obviously obtained some bad information about the odor of certain female body parts somewhere down the line––it definitely wasn’t from a place of vast experience. He proceeded to finger her once more.
“You can use two fingers if you want,” she said to him, so he did.
The sounds two fingers produced versus one meant that, in my estimation, I had correctly handled her moister output––more important data.
“Robby,” she stopped him once again. “Bite me.”
“Bite my thigh,” and she pinched the part of her leg she wanted to him to munch on.
He nodded, then, lowered his head to the spot she indicated.
“Bite down slowly but firmly,” she specified before he acted and he nodded once more. She watched as he took a large bite out of her thigh, bigger than even she probably wanted him to, but she produced no sounds of pain.
He started to pull away but Amber stopped him.
“No, harder, harder…” she pressed him, and I could tell by her raising artificial heart levels on the feed, a fancy way of saying pressure monitor, that he was doing exactly as she told him.
She moaned and groaned with feigned pleasure. All I was able to see now was white ceiling.
“Bite. Me. Harder!” she screamed at him, and before her rate went off the chart, I heard a distinct snapping sound––he had broken skin.
“Amber… I’m sorry,” he started to say, but she put one finger over his mouth.
“Look down,” she commanded him and he did as told. She looked at him to see his reaction to seeing the wound in her thigh seal up as if nothing had happened. He was definitely pleasantly surprised.
I worked hard on that synthetic skin and it made me happy to see someone else’s positive reaction to it.
He reached down to finger her, but she stopped him once again.
“I bet there’s something else you have that you can slide in there,” she said as she placed her hand on his crotch and rubbed it.
“Ooooh, and it’s nice and ready to go, I see.”
Rob frantically undid his belt, but before he was able to even get started on the zipper, a pounding on his door impeded his progress.
“Rob. You in there?” called out a voice from the other side.
“Who’s that?” asked Amber.
There was another round of pounding.
“Rob, I know you’re in there. I wanna see her.”
“Fuck,” said Rob, as he pounded on his bed.
“It’s cool, babe, the sooner you answer that, the sooner we can finish what we started,” said Amber as she lovingly caressed Rob’s cheek. He got up and opened the door.
“What the hell, Rob? Don’t keep me waiting like that. I want to see what Jerrald sent ov––Holy shit,” said the older man that just blasted into Rob’s room, astonished to see what was in front of him.
“Damn, this is not what I expected to see at all. She is gorgeous.”
The man walked over to Amber and put his hands on her chin and started to manipulate her face in all directions as he inspected it.
“Be careful with her, dad.”
“Careful? She’s a fucking android. I know they built her tough,” said Rob’s father.
“It’s cool, Rob,” said Amber. She stood and grabbed the man around the neck and gave him a great big hug.
“Ah, I see you’re built pretty tough yourself,” she said.
“If I weren’t married I’d show you just how tough other parts of me are built,” Rob’s father whispered into Amber’s ear. She giggled.
She could see Rob seething over the father’s shoulder and let go and walked over to Rob to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“I see where you get your good looks from, Robby,” she told him.
The father snickered. It didn’t seem like he agreed with her statement.
“Yeah, but I don’t think it could be argued that I walked away with the lion’s share of the looks,” the father said.
“Well, you’re hotter to me, anyway,” Amber whispered to Rob, reassuringly. Rob’s father walked up to them and folded him arms; the expression on his face was still one of awe.
“Goddamn, she’s perfect. Jerry certainly outdid himself,” he said.
I was the one that outdid myself, was what I wanted to yell at him through the feed. Sometimes it’s hard being humble.
“I bet you’re happy, huh,” Rob’s father said to his son as he slapped him on the shoulder.
“Yeah. Thanks, dad.”
“I know you couldn’t get one like this on your own. I had the opportunity to help you out so I took it,”––he turned his attention to Amber––“Sorry my charm didn’t carry over through the DNA.”
“He has loads of it to me,” she answered back. The father snickered once more.
“As programmed a response as I’ve ever heard.”
Amber pulled herself closer to Rob and ran her fingers through his hair in an attempt to calm him. Judging by the look on his face, he seemed to be holding back on what he really wanted to say––the new shade of red he turned was noticeably different than the one caused by his skin affliction.
His father continued to stare at Amber, licking his lips a little as he did. I could tell why this man was friends with Mr. Axell. They both shared some of the same creepy atmosphere.
“Turn around,” he ordered her, and she turned.
“That is a well designed backside,” he said.
As her creator, I felt both flattered and disgusted.
“Turn back around. Let me see the front,” he said next, and she complied.
“I don’t know which side I like better.”
“Well, if my opinion matters, I like all of you two,” she said with a laugh.
“Sharp response. Brilliant programming,” the father said, nodding his head in approval––I couldn’t help but feel proud.
“Anyway, in other news, we have a fundraiser to go to tonight. I want the whole family there. Wear a suit,” said father to son. Rob looked like he wanted to protest, be he did not and settled for a simple sigh.
“Okay. Well, can I bring her?”
“Of course not. My son suddenly gets a girl like this, what would the media think? I can see it now: Real Estate Mogul Buys Son Prostitute, Brings Her To Fundraiser For Hospital.”
Amber just laughed; she wasn’t programmed to be offended, but I felt bad for her being referred to as a prostitute so cavalierly. Rob ignored his father’s off handed comment.
“Well, I don’t have a suit,” Rob said.
“What happened to your last one?”
“I spilled wine on it, remember? So I tossed it.”
“You what? That thing cost me nine thousand.”
“It was ruined. I couldn’t keep it, the way it was.”
Rob’s father smacked his teeth. In fact, it looked like he was about to smack Rob as well.
“Well, I guess you better get out there and get fitted for a new one.”
“Yeah, fitting takes time. And we have to get going by five.”
“But, I wanted to have some time with her to, you know,” Rob said as he nodded towards Amber, staring her up and down.
“If you hadn’t thrown out that suit, you would’ve had that time. Besides, you have her for a week.”
Rob sighed once more.
“Go do your thing. I’ll still be here when you get back,” Amber said to Rob.
“See? She understands. Now let’s get a move on. I’m headed in that direction. We’ll drop you off and pick you up afterwards. Say your good-byes. Oh, and fix that stupid hair of yours, too.”
“Hope to see you later,” said Amber to the father.
“Oh, if I had my way, you’d see a lot more of me.”
He smacked her on the behind as he made his way out. She giggled.
As soon as Rob was sure his father was out of earshot, he spoke his mind to Amber.
“Why were you doing that?” he questioned Amber.
“Doing what, babe?”
“Don’t act stupid. You were flirting with my dad,” Rob said with a flare of his nostrils. His temper was rising.
“That was nothing babe, harmless. I told you, you’re mine and…”
“…And I’m yours. Yeah, yeah. I get it.”
“I was just trying to be friendly.”
“I just don’t like you acting like that. I really don’t. Don’t it again,” he said. It sounded threatening. I expected an ‘or else’ to follow his statement.
“Okay, Robby. I didn’t mean to upset you,” she said to him and she gave him loving pecks on his cheek. This seemed to calm him down a bit.
“Now, go and have fun tonight and hopefully we can continue what we started when you get back.”
His frown turned into a semi-smile.
“That’s what I like to see. Now, give me something to long for while you’re gone,” And the two shared a long, very sloppy deep kiss and a hug.
After they both said their good-byes to each other, she sat down on his bed and he turned her off.
“Sir, does this mean that I will not be able to witness copulation?” asked Cran as he turned his attention back to me.
“Not yet at least,” I answered.
“Oh,” was all he said. If I didn’t know better, I could swear I detected a tinge of disappointment in his mechanical voice.
“Don’t worry, Cran. You’ll get your chance soon enough, unfortunately.”
“’Unfortunately.’ That word usually accompanies a statement of sadness or dread. Sir, is copulation not, in most cases, a joyful activity?”
“In most cases, it certainly can be. Not in all.”
“And in this case, it is not.”
“I believe I understand.”
I waited for him to ask me why I thought that sex wasn’t a good thing in this case, but he did not. I was both disappointed and relieved that his curiosity wasn’t piqued.
“Sir, would you like some lunch?” was all he asked me.
“No, I’m not quite hungry just yet.”
“Please let me know when you are, sir. I will throw out the trash now.”
I thanked Cran as I sat back in my chair and stared once more into the eyes of the woman in the picture on my desk, still trying to make sense of it all, again, to no avail.