When the STOL arrived down on the farm, I along with the mail pouches was dumped at the prefab metal shed. That building looked like a six bay auto repair shop. I had no idea what was behind any of the roll up doors.
“Maxine Stone? you need to come with me,” the driver of the small pickup truck said as he opened the passenger door for me. The half dozen mail bags went into the rear of the pickup, and I went into the passenger side.
The truck stopped in front of what could have passed as a cattle barn to a casual observer. I couldn’t imagine how a casual observer could make it this deep into the farm’s compound. Most likely the barn’s exterior was to fool small planes which might accidentally drift over the sight.
I was met by a young woman in jeans and a casual western style blouse. “Ms. Stone we have been expecting you.”
I almost said, if you were really expecting me honey, you would not mistake me for Ms Stone. What I did say was, “Good, take me to the fearless leader.”
“Come this way,” she said smiling. Once I pass through the slightly dingy exterior of the building, I entered a brightly lit state of the art infirmary. I don’t know how many, if any other humans ever got treatment there, but I had spent some time in one of their rooms. I spent the time as both a human and then as whatever the hell I was at that moment.
One thing I had picked up during my three visits to the farm was that there were several barns. Each was a dedicated facility. The people from the biotechnology barn were not granted admission to any other barn. The employees of those most likely were also restricted. I never saw anyone to enforce those restrictions, but I never doubted that there were plenty of people around to do just that. The best security is the security you can’t see.
The chick in the cowboy blouse led me to a room that could have been a jail cell. “Remove your clothes and someone will be in shortly.”
“What I don’t even get a hospital gown?” I asked.
“Why would you need a gown? You aren’t shy are you,” she said with a less than humorous expression on her face.”
“Hell honey, I thought you might be,” I replied.
“I seen your kind before,” she said again without humor.
“Oh and what is my kind?” I asked.
“A bot that can think. You didn’t think you were the only one did you?”
“I thought I was the only one like me yes. I know there are bot that can reason but I thought I was the only one capable of creative thinking.” If I wasn’t, then things could be getting interesting in the next few hours.
“Well yeah, they say you are special, but you are still a fucking bot.” she said. I half expected her to spit afterward.
“Well you must be really popular with the other bots,” I said grinning like a kid. For some reason I kept thinking I should probably step to the rear of the next bus I got on. “Careful, it’s people like you who could bring about the revolution.” I laughed out loud after I said it. She didn’t seem amused.
My combat memories caused me to go onto emergency power and begin capturing free electrons. The air was rift with them. I could tell that the Biotec communications lab was located in the same building. There were probably other computer facilities inside those walls as well. I could more than maintain my level of operation. I could add charge to the capacitor pack which was my battery substitute.
I lay quietly on my bed naked while I absorbed energy and light through my polymer skin. It was a very slow charging process but then I had no idea how long they planned to keep me waiting. I had discovered early on that time had a lot more significance to humans than it did to bots.
The first to come into my cubicle to poke and prod me was a woman about fifty. She didn’t feel the need to even recognize me at all. She did her poking, prodding, and note taking in absolute silence.
After she left there was a virtual parade of people sticking probes into me. They had connections in places I had forgotten about. From those connections they took whatever readings they could. I suffered it all by just ignoring them.
The chick in the wester shirt came back in after several hours. “You might as well shut yourself down for the night. Us humans have lives, we need to get home. We will all be back tomorrow.” With that she was gone. After she left I set my timer then shut myself down.
I have to explain something here. Even when I’m shut down, I’m not completely shut down. I am just on minimum power drain and therefore no real thought processes. The reason is simple, if the bad guys start moving around, the creators didn’t want me to sleep through someone taking a blow torch to me.
I did stay in that floating shutdown mode, until my timer woke me three hours later. First I went on line to determine that it was 3AM by the Atomic clock. The first thing I did was to begin probing my surroundings by listening. I have far better hearing than any dog, plus I can tune mine. I can’t say for sure that a dog can’t tune out the sound of a charging elephant, but I can.
I turned out the sound of the furnace, and the sound of the break room machines. In other words I washed out the background noises. I concentrated on trying to find out how many humans were in the barn and where there were. There were three inside the building and four more outside.
Then I concentrated on what they were doing. The four outside moved around in a fairly fixed manner. Those were that security one could not see. I decided that two of the three inside were also security officers of some kind.
I heard three Roborat 1000s running up and down the halls. A Roborat is a tiny little bot with a camera and nothing else. He runs around like a roomba sending live images to the security control room.
My guess was that the one unaccounted for human was the duty controller.
Yes I am, came the message in my brain.
Then clear the way and I’ll come down and take a look around the control room, I suggested.
Give me a second to check with your case officer, was the return message.
Do I get clothes or do you want to see me naked as well, I asked silently.
I have seen you naked more than I need, was the next message. Slip into the long gray sweatshirt hanging on your wall. There is no real need but it will make the security people a little more comfortable I think.
You are probably right, I agreed.
The next message I got was walking directions to the control room. I passed several unmarked doors on my way. The door to the control room was open since it too was unmarked. I entered to find a middle aged hundred pound over weight woman sitting in a oversize padded office chair. She had an ear canal communicator with wire a microphone pointed toward her mouth.
“So that’s what you look like in real life?’ she suggested.
“It is indeed. So how often are you my controller?” I asked.
“I’m on the desk forty hours a week just like a telephone operator,” she informed me.
“How many units are you controlling?” I asked.
“All of you,” she said smiling to let me know that it was the best answer I was going to get.
“Do all of us get this tour?” I asked.
“Only the ones who ask and you are the only one so far. Most of you are programed to problem solve, but not for creative thinking. So if we give them a task their only questions are the ones needed to complete that task and find their way home. The Lucy class couldn’t even do that. You had to do her thinking for her, if you remember.” she informed me. She was loading me up with information about how it all worked.
“So were you her controller as well?” I asked.
“Yes, I was the controller on the very first Lucy.” She didn’t expand on that.
“Okay, I think I have got about all the information you are going to give me, Don’t I?”
“I can not think of a single thing left that I could tell you,” she said honestly.
“Could I watch you work for a while?”
“Of course you can, but only if I can ask you about Aster,” she said.
“Why Aster?” I asked.
“You are kidding right?” she asked.
“No, not at all,” I admitted.
“We are all trying to figure out how to retire there. Where else can you live next door to the guy who tried to kill you last year, but will die to keep you alive this year. It’s one fucking amazing place,” the chubby girl said.
“I guess it is at that. So what is the number one thing you want to know?” I asked.
“Who is the best fuck there?” she asked with a grin.
“Male or female?” I countered.
She broke out laughing so hard I thought I might have to give her CPR. “No wonder we all love you,” she said. “I probably shouldn’t have said that.”
“So what is your name, are you married, tell me all the dirt?” I asked. “You already know all the dirt on me.”
“My name is Jane and I am a practicing Lesbian,” she informed me. “I am between lovers at the moment.”
“And these clowns know that and down care?” I asked.
“These clowns are nerds at heart. As long as it doesn’t effect the product, they could care less. By the way. ‘Telling them you didn’t finger Martin because he was a good fuck’, is not going to fly with them.” she said.
“You mean they wouldn’t know a good fuck from necrophilia?” I asked.
She laughed again, “I could not have put it better myself.” I just nodded. “Tell me,” she went on, “There was a hint in your TV show that you had a threesome with the Irishman is that true?”
“Yep and that realty slut Kate,” I admitted.
“I really like Kate. She is cute and I can sympathize with her both because she works for her dad and she isn’t gorgeous.” Jane said.
“So you really can see what I see?” I asked.
Rather than answer Jane turned a monitor to me. There was a shot of an airport waiting room. “That’s the sensor in an Eve model who is staking out the DC airport. There are way too many diplomats who are double agents.”
“What happens to the sensors here when I have an orgasm?”I asked.
“I have no fucking idea how to describe it,” she admitted. “Your core temperature goes up. In other words you get hot. Your circuits fire just a tiny bit out of sync. The power builds up on the capacitor that regulates your energy levels and then it just fires a non lethal burst of energy. After that burst it takes several Milli seconds at least for your body’s core reading to return to normal.
“That’s exactly what it feels like, so you can see it on the charts when I have an orgasm?”
“Oh yes and it is erotic,” Not like being felt up, it’s more like seeing a mild porno film,” Jane explained. “Add seeing what you are up to and it becomes very erotic. Do not ask for any more details.” She at least laughed after she said it. “You need to get back to your room, the day shift of lab workers will be starting to arrive soon. They are not field types and have no feel for the You inside the machine.”
“I noticed there were at least two different types of treatment I have gotten so far. Your friendly treatment and the bitch that met me at the door and her cold as ice treatment.” I said.
“Well there are two schools of thought, if not more. One group sees you as an extension of who you were when the nanny cunt shot you.” She smiled since she had used the term I used for the woman I tracked down and took care of.
Then there is the school who sees you as just another toy. An overbuilt Roomba 5000 as you put it. I don’t think their thinking has gotten past the Eve model. For them she was the ultimate computer bot.
Well I am, what I am, and that’s all what I am,” I said.
“I know you’re Popeye the sailer,” Jane said with a laugh.
“Okay, I’ll go back and charge up for the day I know is coming.