Autonomously Yours

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Chapter 3 - Trash

I was drinking my coffee the next morning when I turned on the feed to find Rob’s large face staring back at me—staring into Amber’s eyes to be precise. It almost caused me to do a spit take; I was caught off-guard to say the least. It felt like he had been staring at her for quite some time. He also seemed to be out of breath for some strange, unexplained reason.

Both he and Amber lay horizontally on his bed. He was wearing a white robe with the initials ‘RB’ clearly written in large font embroidered on the front, his pasty white chest exposed and dripping with clear liquid: whether sweat or water, I wasn’t quite sure of. I had hoped it was the latter.

Her power had been switched on, allowing me to see what she saw, but her A.I. had not yet been activated. I was a little more than alarmed thinking about what activity had taken place just before I switched on the feed.

He caressed her face and hair constantly. He murmured things like ‘so beautiful’ and ‘I want you so badly’ to her before he brought his mouth to her ear and whispered the activation code into it, bringing her to life once more.

Their morning conversation was sappy and nauseating, but standard.

She asked him how his evening went and offered a generic, unenthusiastic answer.

He told her how much he had missed her and she gleamed with pleasure.

He apologized for not returning until late at night and for being too tired to continue their, as he put it, sexual escapade. She expressed her forgiveness with a flurry of kisses.

“We can start it back up now if you’d like,” she said.

“I really want to, but…” He could hardly talk with Amber’s tongue in his mouth.

“But what?”

“But I have a big party tonight that I have to go to.”

“Another party?” she said, quite disappointedly.

“But, I’m bringing you to this one. I want to show you off to my friends,” he said, and she expressed her gratitude with more kisses.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in an affluent part of town. Rob smiled from ear to ear as Amber draped herself over him like a damp raincoat. Every man, young and old, looked at Rob with envy while simultaneously gawking lecherously at Amber as they passed by. Rob was definitely aware of this and bathed in the attention. He seemed to like the sweetness the arm candy provided him. Little conversation was had as they entered various, brightly lit name-brand shops, leaving with two or three bags of new items after a visit to each. He waited patiently outside of the dressing rooms while she tried on different colored dresses that he brought to her; she invited him to come in and watch while she did, and he accepted her invitation without hesitation. I was treated to countless clumsy foreplay sessions.

When they started their trip down to richville, Amber’s neck, arms and hands were bare, but by the end of it they were adorned with glimmering diamonds and dripping white and black pearls; he made a crude comment about giving her a different piece of jewelry when they got home later.

What does he mean by ‘wet pearl necklace’ sir? Are there other kinds of pearls with different properties then the ones he has already provided her?” Cran asked me.

“I’ll manually input a new set of colloquialisms into you later. I’m not at liberty to explain it at the moment,” I told him––I fitted Cran with Airfi capabilities, of course, so he could have easily looked it up himself, but I did not make it an automatic function. I wanted him to think for himself; therefore, I fit him with a healthy dose of curiosity when programming him. Cran did not inquire further, to my relief.

After the shopping spree, Amber and Rob went back home and got ready for the party. Rob wore a stark white suit with matching shoes and tie; judging by his room décor and his choice of wardrobe it was clear that his favorite color was the near absence of it.

Amber wore a short, strapless pink leopard-print skirt that made her stand out––a stark contrast to what he was wearing, Rob’s intention no doubt, and heels so high she had to look down to Rob to talk to him.

“I forgot to ask, what kind of party is this?” she asked as they entered Rob’s flashy vehicle.

“Oh, just some birthday party for a guy I know. Ever hear of Andrew Everheart?” he asked her––an obvious name drop.

“Honey, you just activated me yesterday. So, no,” Amber said as she caressed his ear. It was an interesting statement of self-awareness from her I didn’t anticipate. Noteworthy.

“Well, his family owns one of the largest clothing companies on the western hemisphere,”

“Oooh, fancy.”

“Whatever,” he said, quite haughtily.

“A birthday party, huh. You two must be close.”

“Not at all. Just going mainly to show you off to everyone,” is what he said, but I had the feeling it was more about bragging about his feigned accomplishment. Amber leaned over and whispered in his ear.

“I wish I could do something to thank you for being so sweet to me. How long until we reach the party?” she said, seductively; he understood her implication.

“We have some time. Let’s see what you can do.”

They started kissing and before long I heard the familiar sound of pants unzipping. I was too late in averting my stare when she lowered her head and I got an extreme close-up of his pubic region. It was definitely too close for my comfort.

Cran’s eyes started to magnify again. He turned to me and said, very knowingly, “Foreplay, sir.”

I nodded slowly as I stared down into my lap. This was a private moment that I did not want to witness. I contemplated turning off the feed for the next couple of minutes, but, not knowing when it would end, that would not have been conducive to proper observation. I settled for turning down the sound. I went to the kitchen to fetch myself some water and asked Cran to alert me when they reached the party.

They finally arrived at their destination, and as soon as Rob and Amber exited their vehicle, they were met with loud, obnoxious clicks and blinding flashes; the paparazzi were waiting outside the party and trying to capture pictures of the mysterious girl Rob had brought with him. Amber posed willingly for the cameras and Rob stood by happily as they lapped her up. ‘Who is she?’ was the question shouted out by the majority of the photographers. In lieu of answers, Rob and Amber opted to just cheese for the cameras as they walked towards the large mansion that housed the party.

A tall, young guy with a snooty expression on his generically handsome face greeted them as they walked through the doors.

“Hey, it’s Rob. Glad you could make it,” the guy said, without an ounce of sincerity in his voice.

“Wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Rob, with the same amount of care in his.

“And who is this? Your cousin?”

“No, silly. My name is Amber and I belong to Robby. Charmed,” and she stuck out her hand and waited for it to be kissed.

“Nice to meet you Amber. I’m Andrew, Andrew Everheart,” the young guy said as he took Amber’s hand and kissed it.

“I know. I’ve heard a lot about you,” Amber said.

“Is that so? Then, what is it exactly that you see in this guy that you don’t see in me?” said Andrew.

“Well, I’ve only just met you.”

“I’m offering you a chance to move on to something better.”

Rob finally stepped in between them.

“All right, that’s enough.”

“Rob, you know I’m just fucking around. I’m proud of you, pulling someone like this. You and your date go grab a drink. Brandon’s already here,” Andrew said, as he pointed off to the distance at a cherubic figure that stood by the bar waving Ron and Amber over.

They went over to meet Brandon at the bar. The two men performed their signature handshake before Brandon handed Rob a drink, a beer by the look of it. He offered one to Amber as well, but she declined, to my disappointment––I had designed her to take liquids and was anxious to see how she would handle the consumption of a drink. That would have to wait for another time.

“Nice to see you again, Brandy,” she said, as she air-kissed his cheeks.

“You, too. Amber,”––he turned his attention to Rob––“Damn, she is even better looking than before. I still can’t believe it, dude.”

“Yeah, I know. But shut up about it, huh. I don’t want people to know what she really is.”

“I gotcha. Anyway, you ready to fucking party?”

“Fuck yeah, man!” Rob screamed as he and Brandon smashed their mugs together, almost spilling the entire contents of each. They downed their drinks in one gulp and Rob kissed Amber with his beer-drenched lips.

The place was filled with famous faces. I recognized a lot of actors and actresses, as well as the spoiled children of the moguls of various multinational corporations; more than a few of them were known for their infamous and dubious conduct, if the news was to be believed.

Rob and Amber danced the night away. Judging by the look on most of the guests’ faces as they stared at Amber, a lot of them could not believe that Rob was capable of obtaining someone like her. And judging by the look on his, Rob knew this and reveled in the attention he was receiving––the wide grin on his face was one of a shit-eating nature, I believe the expression goes.

As the night went on, Rob and Brandon consumed more alcohol, and, as to be expected, the more alcohol that was consumed the more drunk they became; and the more drunk they became the more boisterous their actions, and, although, not at all inebriated, Amber tried to match their behavior––it was an interesting attempt to fit in.

Before long, Rob and Amber were the focus of the party, and that, of course, drew the attention of most of the men there.

Many of them began to ask for dances and, because I was instructed to program her with a flirty and outgoing personality, she wasn’t one to decline. I guess I didn’t have to do such a good job of programming her, though, I suppose.

Rob did his best to drag her away, but being so inebriated his strength and motor skills were slightly diminished. She moved from guy to guy, dancing in really close quarters, their private parts too close to her own. Most suitors tried to steal kisses, but she was conscious of Rob watching from the sidelines and did her best to avert her mouth from theirs; a lot of their kisses landed on her cheeks and neck.

One soggy, burly man she danced with made a comment on her lack of perspiration.

“You’ve been dancing like a mad woman all night. I can’t believe how dry you are. I can’t stop sweating!” the man screamed at her, trying to out shout the music. I wondered if that was his idea of a pick up line.

“I’m a special one,” she said.

“I’d like to find out just how special you are. I bet you’re wet somewhere else.” This guy’s brazenness both sickened and alarmed me.

Amber just giggled and ignored his comment. She looked over to find Rob, who was wobbling off to the side, just staring, seething.

She must have made a judgment call as she made her way over to him, rejecting more advances from more men. As she reached him, she grabbed him around the neck and gave him a big kiss on the lips, a kiss that he did not return. He just stood there like a rock, arms folded, sporting a very sour look on his face.

“You okay, baby? Having fun?” she inquired.

“What… what…” he slurred––he was having trouble getting out what he wanted to say––“What the fuck are you, are you doin’ with all those guys?” he asked, finally finding the words he was looking for.

“I’m just dancing, babe. We’re popular here,” she said.

“Not us, you. You’re popular here,” Rob said, as he poked Amber’s chest.

“What’s wrong, babe?”

“I told you not to go flirting with other men and you said you wouldn’t, but there you go, flirting with other men again.”

“Robby, I’m not flirting. I’m just dancing, you know, trying to be friendly.”

“If you say ‘friendly’ again, I swear, Amber, I swear I’m going to sock you in that thing you call a face.”


Andrew, who was standing a few feet away from the couple, suddenly came up behind Rob and put his hand on his shoulder––he undoubtedly overheard what Rob had just said.

“Hey man, that’s no way to speak to a woman.”

“Dude, fuck off,” Rob said as he pushed Andrew. He pushed Rob back.

“You son of a bitch. Apologize to both of us right now,” said Andrew.

“Or what, you fuckin’ pretty boy? What are you gonna do to me in front of all these people?” said Rob. A small crowd started to gather around the commotion. Andrew calmed down a bit and again placed his hand on Rob’s shoulder, this time a little gentler.

“Man, go home. You’ve had too much to drink,” said Andrew as he started to guide Rob toward the door.

“Get your fuckin’ hand off of me,” Rob said as he pushed Andrew again, this time much harder, causing him to stumble back a few inches. Andrew looked as if he were trying his hardest not to unleash everything he had on Rob, but people started to take pictures of the altercation. Instead, he just extended his hand to Amber.

“Hey, let me get you away from this. You shouldn’t be witnessing this,” he said to her.

“It’s all right,” was all she was able to say before Rob threw a punch straight into Andrews jaw. Nearly everyone at the party was watching then, and nearly every one of them was taking pictures.

“Robby, don’t,” said Amber, as she grabbed Rob by the shoulder, but he pushed her to the ground.

“Don’t touch me, you, you… I don’t even know what to call you.”

Amber watched from the floor as Rob’s face was met with Andrew’s fist, sending him down next to Amber, his nose bleeding profusely. Andrew ascended on Rob and pounded away on his face. Amber stood up and pushed him off.

“Stop that, stop doing that to my Robby!”

She helped Rob to his feet, and Andrew hit Rob once more before Amber grabbed his wrist causing him to scream out in pain; I could only imagine what it must have felt like, having your wrist squeezed by the metal clamp of a hand belonging to an android capable of ending your life, if she was programmed to do so. I did not put a limit on how much pressure she was able to exert with her grip––it didn’t occur to me as something I should have done, but watching this, perhaps I should have, I thought. Unfortunately, my observation in the elevator seemed to be correct. I was waiting to hear a snapping sound that, thankfully, never came.

“I said, stop,” Amber said, robotically, almost forgetting that she was supposed to be imitating a human being.

“Okay, okay, just let go!” pleaded Andrew as he winced in pain, and she complied. His friends came to his aid and helped him off to another part of the house. Brandon finally made his way to Rob and Amber.

“What the hell was that all about?” he asked Rob, but Rob pushed him away.

“Fuck you, man. You…you stood by and let all those dudes touch my girl. I thought you were my friend, man.”

“What are you talking about?”

Rob looked as if he wasn’t done fighting and was about to deck Brandon, but Amber stepped in between them before anything like that happened.

“Don’t worry about it. He’s just drunk. We’re gonna get going, okay? Hope to see you soon, Brandy,” said Amber, and she grabbed his chubby cheek.

“Yeah, I hope so, too,” he said to Amber, just before Rob grabbed her by the arm and yanked her out of the house.

The ride back to Rob’s place was quiet and awkward.

Amber pleaded with Rob to talk about what was bothering him, but he would not say anything, instead, opting to huff and puff while staring straight ahead onto the dark road that passed underneath them; the silence in the car was broken only by the thunder that began to crack outside and the rain drops that began to fall on the windshield. She tried once or twice to nurse his heavily bruised eye, but he swatted her hand away with each attempt.

They finally reached home and they made their way through the dark house to Rob’s room. When there, he went straight to the bathroom and slammed the door shut.

“Come on, babe. Tell me what’s wrong.”

Amber tried to talk to him through the door, but the only thing that could be heard from the other side was the familiar sound of a stream of urine hitting water, then the sound of hands washing, then more silence, before he finally opened the door and walked out slowly, a little less drunk then he was just minutes before. He leered at Amber with purpose. I assumed he took the extra time to gather his thoughts before he walked out.

“Babe, are you ok?” was the last thing Amber was able to speak before Rob grabbed her aggressively by her jowls and yanked her head close to his as he barked the deactivation code, which was the same as the activation one, at her face: Kaa-Laa-Men-Chee-Ah. Nothing happened. She just stared at him with fear in her eyes. He was visibly frustrated. He had forgotten that he had to whisper it instead of scream it angrily at her. He mustered the patience to calm down just enough to be able speak it softly into her ear, and as he did she returned to nothing more than a standard mannequin with lifelike features. The anger in him rose once more.

“Stand in front of that mirror and look at yourself,” he commanded her. His speech was still a little slurred.

“Tell me what you see. Tell me,” he said, knowing she was unable to do so.

“You can’t tell me, can you? But you know what I see?” Amber stood still, staring into the mirror; the static smile on her face was sweet but not at all reassuring.

He continued his barrage of insults. “I see a slut. A dirty, little slut. Do you understand that word? Slut?” he asked her, unjustly. I felt bad for her, being shamed for something she wasn’t at fault for, for a set of behaviors that he wanted inputted into her. She was just acting in a way that she was expected to, a way she was programmed to do.

“I’ll tell you what a slut is,” he said as he pointed accusingly at the mirror.

“That. That right there is the picture you would see if you looked up the word ‘slut’ in the dictionary.” Rob backed up and looked at Amber.

“Face me,” he commanded her.

“What do you think I should do with you?” he asked as he continued his one-sided conversation.

“You know what happens to sluts? Guys like me, who have been lied to by women they trusted to not act like sluts, tend to cut them loose, throw them away like the trash they are.” Rob looked at Amber for a moment, thinking to himself before he made a declaration.

“Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m going to do with you. Turn around and walk back to the car.” The human casing that was referred to as Amber started to walk toward the door before he stopped her.

“Wait, those clothes I bought you. Take them off. I’m returning them. The underwear, too. You’re just a robot. What do you need with clothes?” he rhetorically asked her as she disrobed.

“Fold them nicely,” he commanded, and he watched as she did as she was told. Amber stood there, stark naked, as Rob looked at her from head to toe. He shook his head as he spoke.

“It’s a shame I didn’t get to have that before I found out what you really were. Now, walk back to the car.”

She walked through the dark house and back out to the dark driveway in the pouring rain and stood next to the passenger side.

“What are you waiting for? Get the hell in,” he yelled at her.

Amber stared straight ahead in the car––watching the windshield wipers moving back and forth was strangely comforting to me. But it allowed my thoughts to drift to something unimportant: hundreds of years since the invention of the automobile and they couldn’t improve on windshield wiper technology beyond a couple of refinements here and there. I starting of thinking of ways I could improve on Ms. Anderson’s invention before the sound of Rob berating Amber under his breath snapped me out it.

“You got my upholstery all wet. I’m definitely getting my money back for you,” he said, the effects of the alcohol obviously causing him to forget that he hadn’t paid any money for her. I couldn’t see his face, but I could imagine the contemptuous look he was giving her. After traveling a considerable amount of time through the conspicuously empty city, Rob finally stopped the car.

“Look at me,” he said, and she did just that.

“Look at what you’ll be missing out on. I was a nice guy and you could have had much more of me, but you couldn’t be trusted. I want you to get out and walk to that bus stop bench and sit and think about how horrible you are. I hope to never see you again.”

And with that the android Amber complied, opened the car door, stepped out and walked to the wet bus bench to sit alone. I was able to see Rob’s car as it drove off out of sight.

I sat and stared at the feed watching the rain fall, thinking of what the sight of Amber naked on a bus bench must look like to passersby when I recognized the surroundings of the environment she was in. I knew exactly where that bus stop was.

I had Cran accompany me as we went to her location. I was able to continue watching the feed through my glasses on the inside of my lens’––I connected the feed to them as a precaution––which was especially convenient in this moment, allowing me to see if anything went wrong on the ride over.

We parked just across the street from her. I returned my glasses to normal mode and stared at her from the car for a brief moment. No one was around, thankfully, to see her sat there, alone and drenched. She just stared out into the wet darkness, unaware of what a terrible experience she had just went through. Despite the stale, mechanical smile on her face, she looked sad and pathetic. But maybe those were just my thoughts I projected onto her.

I had no sooner opened my car door when a black, unmarked vehicle drove up and parked directly in front of her. Two men got out of it and spoke something to her that was inaudible to me.

I panicked. I had no idea what to do. Were they trying to harm her? I thought about running over to her to save her, but these men were considerably larger than I. But what should that matter? I should have gone anyway to do whatever I could to protect her.

But then I had a most horrible thought. In that moment I thought her to be just a product; I thought, why worry? If something bad happened to her I need only to make another. She was nothing more than a robot made of metal, graphene, optical fiber and ink. Why, I could even improve upon her, I thought.

It was self-preservation in its most selfish form––nothing more than sickening rationalization.

Then a conflicting thought entered my head. If she were a real live human being, would I react in the same way? What if she had been a daughter, my mother, a girlfriend, my wife? Could I stand still like that and let these two men have their way with her had that been the case? Would I think, she’s just a human, I need only birth another?

I hoped I would think not.

As I stood there immobilized, just staring, I noticed that they didn’t seem to be doing anything overtly suspicious. It was almost as if they were having a calm conversation with her. It then occurred to me that I should change my glasses back to feed mode to see exactly what they were doing. I did that just in time to see one of the men return to the car and grab a blanket to wrap around Sally, as I was now back to calling her. It was then apparent that it was not their intent to hurt her. In fact, as I looked at their faces I recognized them as the two men in Mr. Axell’s office. Of course. I should have known that man was keeping tabs on his investment.

They escorted Sally into the backseat of their car.

“Don’t forget to power her down,” said one of the men.

“She is powered down,” answered the one who helped Sally into the car.

“No. I mean, completely.”

“Oh yeah. Man, she sure is fucking exquisite. I wouldn’t mind having my way with her, you know what I mean?”

“I know exactly what you mean,” answered the other man as he turned around and leered at her. The one that helped her in finally reached behind her neck and powered her down.

The feed went black. I turned it off and stared straight ahead. Why they felt the need to have that conversation before her deactivation I do not know. I certainly hope they didn’t follow through with whatever filled their minds on the way back. It was a real possibility.

Once again I was greeted with the pitter-patter of raindrops on a windshield. Again, my thoughts went to something I shouldn’t have been thinking of at the moment, something trivial.

“Cran,” I spoke.

Yes, sir?” Cran answered as he started the vehicle.

“Take a note. Work on improvements to the standard windshield wiper.”

Noted, sir.”

He took that as a cue to start them up, and he did, before the vehicle took us back home in the ongoing downpour.

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