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CYBERNOIRE

by RL Blackburne about a month ago in artificial intelligence
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The Workaday World

As above...

...such is not below.

RL Blackburne

2022

LOS ANGIEGO, 2082

SEPTEMBER

It was late afternoon under the omnipresent grey-bowl sky and fog-misted distances that shrouded and obscured the horizon colloquially known the world over as ‘The Grey’.

It had been a mildly storm-tossed day with a heavy, misting rain coming down, mixed now and again with snowflakes. As always, the streets were busy with endless crowds bearing umbrellas of every conceivable design and type, surging and thronging on sidewalks as ground and aerial traffic moved ceaselessly without stopping nor jamming across the eight-lane primary street fronting Datellier Certified Automotives.

An advertiblimp cruised slowly past above the chainlink fenced display lot, it’s massive flatscreen side-displays running the highest-paid ads. They were presently showing ones for Laangier & Oake Designer Cyberprosthetics in repetitive sequence which highlighted the Limited Signature Fall Collection for 2082.

The ads did so with models so attractive they could not be real and showed them living the supreme lifestyle on one of the five-star Orbital Elite Habitats. It was like a window opened into paradise, expensive champagne, immense swimming pools with crystal-pristine water, stainless white pool decks and clothing worn purely for aesthetic consideration and value.

The ads had caught the man’s eye only momentarily as he glanced up from reflex, then returned his full attention to the business at-hand.

"How can I be sure it's not gonna just fall out of the air?" The prospective customer asked, eyeing the seven year old and fully reconditioned Daimler-Merkur Skyrunner ELS.

 Richard, 'Rick' Datellier nodded, acknowledging the point. He then opened the aerocar's driver-side door, reached in and popped the engine compartment's release. While he was attending his serious-seeming customer, a pack of starved-looking dreggers wearing clothes barely a step above rags shuffled down the sidewalk fronting his lot, arguing slurredly amongst themselves as people stepped around them, avoided them and eyed them with wary suspicion. More than a couple moved their hands under their coats in a manner that clearly and strongly stated they were armed and ready to defend themselves as they passed the dreggers who had taken to slapping angrily at each other as they continued on their way.

He watched them briefly through the car’s passenger door window, alert for and wary about trouble from them. His right hand slid under his suit jacket, taking hold of the grip of his gun in case it was needed.

They continued on and away, making no effort to enter the lot. Satisfied they were no longer a potential problem he returned his attention back to the promising business at present as he took his hand out from under his jacket, leaving the gun in it’s holster.

 "As you can see on the sign, we're a Certified sales lot, see the accreditation on the bottom right-hand side?” He said, pointing to his lot’s sign as he emerged from the car, noting the customer was withdrawing his hand from the left-rear of his belt and from the still-holstered gun that he’d noticed earlier.

The customer looked, squinted, then nodded as the accreditation marker was noted.

“All our previously-owned pieces have been properly reconditioned and then fully inspected. See? Here's the tag, on the windshield." He replied further to the customer’s query, the customer looking closely at it, studied the tag, then nodded in approval.

 "Okay, I accept that. Good to see, I’ll add. More than a couple places try games with fake tags. How about the reactor fuel elements? How much life do they have left?" The customer asked as he leaned over and began closely studying the engine compartment and the machinery within.

 Rick leaned back inside the car, reached further in, opened the console armrest compartment. He took out the e-flimsy that had the Inspection Report for the vehicle, worked with the electronically-responsive stiffly-flexible sheet of plastic, calling up the relevant information, then handed it to the customer.

"They're inspected too, and they're all good for another ten years, plus a few months after a decade solid-minimum." He replied, keeping himself calm, business-professional. His approach was no-hustle, none of the not-so-clever games that gave other dealers on some other lots such bad reps.

 "Alright, and it says here that all avionics and amenities have been checked out and assessed as 'Very Good', can you quantify that?" The customer asked.

 "Certainly. 'Very Good' means fully-functional but with some signs of wear that one would expect to see after a period of five years of careful and conscientious use and upkeep with updating. If you like, you can take it for a five-day evaluation period, see how it fits you." He replied, knowing he now had the client's attention.

 "Alright, I'll take the five-day trial." The customer said, looking the car over again carefully, leaning in and looking over the dash, seat and controls.

 "Very good choice. It's really the only way to know for sure, like clothes; You have to try them on for size." Rick replied with an amiable, casual and relaxed smile as he closed up the car and led his customer to the sales office.

After getting his customer checked-out and ensuring that he wasn’t being scammed, he saw the customer off, the D-M Skyrunner lifting off smoothly and quietly, then seamlessly melding into the aerial traffic flows.

Looking around the lot, he noted some tire-kickers. One glance at their clothing, as well as how they interacted with each other told him they weren’t serious, and his stomach was making demands for lunch which had been delayed almost two hours. With a final look around the lot to be sure all was good and quiet, he started for the small construction trailer module that served as his somewhat worn but tidily-kept sales office.

Lunch was a reasonably high-end pre-pack he popped the seal on then put into the omniwave oven. The appliance scanned the package’s code strip, adjusted it’s settings, then began working to heat the meal using infrared and microwave emissions in combination. As he waited for the omniwave to finish it’s task in the small kitchenette area he glanced around the common area, looking for anything out of place, made a mental note to have a cleaning service come in to do the walls to keep things fresh-looking.

Returning to his glass-walled office separate from the main area and seating himself in the somewhat worn office chair, he noted a text alert on his phone that he’d left on the induction charger on his desk, tapped the icon to see it as he settled in to eat.

The picture was a selfie of an enormous bustline barely contained and concealed by a black lace bra with a graphical ‘kiss’ mark in the middle of the picture.

Smiling at the playfully-sexy text from Jessika, he opened the package and began to set about negotiating peace terms with his aggrieved stomach after tearing off the corner of a soy sauce packet and sprinkling the contents over his meal.

The contents were a large plastipaper cardboard bowl holding beef-chicken-shrimp ramen with red miso and glass noodles, heavy on garden vegetables with four gyoza on the side in their own sub-packaging with a dipping cup of a salty non soy-sauce stuff that he liked.

As he ate he let his thoughts drift, glancing at the picture still displayed on his phone now and again. He tapped another icon in the top-right, and the phone’s holoprojector activated. The projector took a second as it finished painting the picture in light, in maximum resolution, in the air above the device.

He’d never given any thought to ever possessing a SynthIkon, let alone the possibility of winning one in a promotional lottery he’d signed into when half-drunk at a friend’s bachelor party. He’d forgotten all about the contest, until a courier-delivered package had arrived that he’d had to sign for after confirming his ID.

It’d announced his status as a winner, one of five, and the thick manila-envelope package had contained everything he needed to place an order with IKON for a fully custom SynthIkon..

Alternating between plastifiber fork and bamboo chopsticks that came with the pre-pack meal, he continued working on his lunch as he let himself remember when he’d started on the contents of the order-package from the contest.

There’d been so many choices and decisions to make, it’d been actually very daunting despite being exciting as well as fun.

He’d called on a cousin for help in decision-making when he’d felt overwhelmed at one point by choices and options then followed her advice to ‘pursue your fantasy’.

A SynthIkon owner herself, she’d had hers built to the ideal of a Greek god, the sublime perfection of male aesthetics.

It’d taken him close to two months to finalize his decisions and choices, then send the order in, which had been followed by a period of second-guessing and post-order last-instant changes called-in to IKON.

One of the key appeals to him regarding a SynthIkon was his issues with latent genetic damage from things his parents and grandparents had been exposed to during the early twenty-first century’s flirtation with mRNA products and then some incidents during the global war.

While perfectly able to sire kids, the chances of children sired by him escaping serious health problems and genetic illnesses were effectively zero. That was something he’d never wanted to drop on a woman and which had kept him from dating much in his life, as well as acquiring a small number of women in his social circles he was genuinely friends with and nothing more.

It’d been hard to cope with at times;

Seeing friends, acquaintances and relatives finding people, marrying, having families while intentionally sitting on the sidelines of life. It’d given him a haunting feeling of being only half-real, disconnected and not really part of things.

Then…

Jessika.

SynthIkons, he’d learned, were not mere robotics cleverly dressed-up to look like people.

They’d come about around the same time as Synthicants towards the early-middle of the century, which had proved to be disastrous for the Synthicant manufacturers and had permanently soured the entire species on ever trying to create genengineered Human slave-labor forces ever again.

SynthIkons…

They were altogether something very different and superior to Synthicants; They were built very much like people, yet from synthetic materials that were far more durable than appearance led one to think. The brain was optical-electronic, of course, but spread throughout it were nodes of living cultured brain tissue appropriate to specific areas of a Human brain.

That was what made IKON the undisputed leader in civilian robotics and automatons.

You could look into the eyes of a SynthIkon and there’d be the sense of ‘someone’ looking back at you…that ‘Human’ point of connection. They had responses that were not mere programming, but genuinely organic.

SynthIkons had made enormous beneficial differences in healthcare, geriatric care and many other civilian fields while IKON ensured they could not be weaponized beyond self-defense, as well as protection of their owners or others not engaged in criminal acts. Pressure had come down on IKON from assorted Military interests as well as codejackers seeking to hack them for sale on the blackmarket Military and Paramilitary weapons trafficking channels.

There’d been numerous attempts at weaponizing them of course, which had failed in every case as well as had been duly reported which led to even stronger and more resilient as well as highly-evolved safeguards against such by Military interests or criminals.

There’d been some concerns with some of IKON’s offerings, especially with the OrganIkon series. There’d been leftover concerns from the Synthicant era regarding the potential for uprising and rebellion. All of which had proven startlingly wrong-headed when it came to light that during the Synthicant Rebellion many SynthIkons and OrganIkons had been damaged, injured and killed as they’d sought to protect people from the Synthicant forces.

When the media got hold of that, they ran with it, and Humanity had closed the door on suspicion of IKON’s products as well as Synthicants. Synthicants had been immediately zero-tolerance Banned on Earth and many other places as well. The Synthicant Rebellion had left Humanity viewing them as nothing more than ‘The Anti-Human Enemy’, with calls for all remaining Synthicants to be hunted down and destroyed. As far as anyone knew, the surviving Synthicants had all fled Off-World, to the few places that were open to them and things had been quiet regarding them since.

The IKON lines held universal appeal across the entirety of Human space and included the much-coveted ReplIkons;

SynthIkons as well as OrganIkons built to resemble a given celebrity or fictional character under License.

There were as well the extremely popular IncarnIkons;

Where a virtually-intelligent holocompanion could be downloaded to a SynthIkon or OrganIkon chassis to live a far greater experience than merely as cleverly-programmed quasi-sentient software in a household entertainment system.

Jessika was an IncarnIkon, her personality core had once been his long-time holocompanion. He’d made that choice about selecting a chassis for her to truly ‘Live’ in without hesitation or second thought.

Looking at the pic she’d sent, he smiled brightly as he recalled her first minutes after having been transferred to her new reality.

Her large, green long-lashed eyes had been wide-blown in pure wonder at what she had experienced. He knew that what she had experienced in the first minutes of truly ‘being’ was something no Human ever could, but it wasn’t difficult to understand in a general manner the overwhelming nature of what it was like for her.

She’d spent five full minutes just standing in place, doing nothing but breathing, moving limbs, fingers, studying them and very much enraptured with Physicality, scrunching her toes into the carpet and enjoying the world of tactility. Naked, she’d drifted across the floor to the balcony, stepping out into the evening air and light rain.

Her reaction to the sensations she encountered from breezes and the light chill rain on her virgin skin, as far as he’d been able to tell from looking, had been something close to orgasmic but something unique and entirely unknowable to Humans.

A two-tone chime from the secure, encrypted transaction console on his desk broke his train of thought regarding Jessika yet also brought a satisfied smile to his face as he finished up with lunch.

Checking it’s display he saw the blockchain verified-confirmations on the payment made in NewDollar$ for the short-frame wide-body ground buses he’d sold. They’d been just what two brothers wanting to get into the grey-market trauma-transport business needed and they’d not haggled. They’d inspected the buses themselves, missing nothing, and had been very pleased with the standards he kept to with regards to his inventory. They’d been even more pleased with the price and discount.

They were building up something called ‘Death Dash’, and carefully working a ride-sharing principle into the trauma-transport service concept alongside food-truck operation. It was a strange idea-mix he found intriguing from it’s novelty thus he planned to stay in-touch with them from sheer curiosity about how they’d manage to pull it off, if they could. There was also the point that if they did make a go of it, they’d need more vehicular assets for their company’s operations.

Cleaning up after lunch he took a couple of shots from the bottle of Silver-Tag Blaugarden German whisky as he decided to close business early in light of the payment for the buses being equal to two-weeks of regular business.

With that decided, then done, along with the office as well as the lot secured, he made his way to his personal vehicle;

A ‘59 Cadillac Convertible Second Issue Limited Edition.

It was a pure groundcar, and exactly the same as a genuine 1959 Cadillac in all respects save where greater comfort, ride quality and various other points not visible to the eye had been improved owing to modern technology and materials. In every visual aspect, it looked as if it had come through a time-warp.

It boasted a V-12 engine, a turbocharged Hyperthanol-fuelled monster capable of sending two hundred horsepower to each wheel through the all-wheel drive transmission.

He handed the driving off to the autopilot and leaned back in the driver’s seat, listening to vintage music from a radio station that offered the era spanned by the nineteen-seventies, eighties and nineties. His thoughts returned to Jessika and how best to enjoy the evening with her company.

The autopilot made easy work of the trip home, tied in to the traffic management network it knew where to go in avoiding congestion issues while losing only a minimal amount of time. Rick enjoyed driving, but not when he’d had some drinks in which cases he preferred to be a ‘tourist’ while enjoying the effects of alcohol and take in the sights as the autopilot handled things expertly.

The clouds had lowered as they often did during the evening and night, giving the feeling, the sense of a ‘roof’ or dome over the entire city. Streetlights started coming on as the rain-mist gave way to light snow as the breezes stalled leaving the snow to fall straight down in a spectacle that seemed somehow pleasantly surreal to him.

Home was an apartment-condoplex in The Beverly Moorings. He knew the history of the area, how it had once been the home territory of the top celebrities in the pre-war times. The global war had changed that just as it had changed almost everything else across the world. No place on Earth wasn’t touched by it to some degree.

During the war, the rich, famous and influential had fled Earth in a mass exodus of abandoning the warring world for the peace and safety of the orbital habitats.

Beverly Hills had become the territory of those solidly in the somewhat-upper-end of the middle of ‘middle class’. The name had been changed to both remember and break with the past.

Some few residences had survived and had been preserved as historical sites unlike the rest which had all been swept away to make room for new badly-needed development. Just at the end of the global war, as things began to cool down and stabilize with renewed relations between the nations of Earth a second smaller and blink-fast war had been touched off by those who’d fled to orbital habitats.

Those who had fled had spoken to the nations of Earth thinking to presume they still had the ‘authority’ and influence they had in the pre-war times.

As the global war halted, they pronounced their absolute authority as successors to the swept-away United Nations and that Earth was now under their ‘guardianship’ with all national sovereignty annulled.

Threats had been exchanged, and then the second almost-war had ended just after hostilities had begun.

An orbital had fired a salvo of advanced cruise missiles with nanocarbon-enhanced electrothermobaric warheads at key areas in North America and Japan. The missiles had been fired as strikes that would cripple key aspects of cryptocurrency, electronics manufacturing and annihilate the more obstinate government heads.

The response that came from Earth after surprisingly effective point-defense intercepts took all but one missile down had shown the orbitals that they lived in very fragile circumstances where it would be an exceptionally bad idea to start throwing ‘rocks’ at one’s neighbors.

It had been a single missile, launched from somewhere in the middle of Canada;

A hypersonic, Trans-Atmospheric Kinetic-Kill Engagement Weapon.

Stealthed as it had been, the orbital had no idea of it incoming on them until it’s impact in the wheel-like orbital’s central hub.

The primary docking bays had been gutted and primary power distribution systems completely destroyed, the entire center of the central hub had been blown out with only minimal to negligible damage to primary structural support elements. The orbital had been left with only backup power systems to function with and while none had been killed in the response-strike, the toll taken on the lifestyle-quality of that orbital’s inhabitants had been extreme.

A perfectly bloodless surgical strike.

Then, the orbital had been sent a very accurate computer prediction-model of what would happen with one such missile strike to the primary life-support torus. The point had been made, and a new relationship between the orbitals and Earth had been dictated by the nations of Earth.

He shook off such thoughts and reflections on history, returning again to thinking of Jessika, and the promise of the playfully-sexy text sent him earlier.

The parkade of the fifty storey condo-apartment building was clean, acceptably well-kept, decently well-lit, and had some basic security drones patrolling it. Still, Rick didn’t drop his guard. He drew and checked his gun, opened the cylinder, verified it was loaded with five fresh multi-round cartridges. Holstering it, he left his car reassured that if he needed it, the gun would serve.

As he left his car in it’s space, Rick kept his eyes and ears open as he walked towards the tenant-only elevators. There were some others around, fellow tenants coming and going, a few he exchanged polite nods of greeting-in-passing with. The elevator was reasonably clean, small amounts of graffiti here and there, a couple of spent cheap single-round cartridge casings caught his eye on the floor in the corner as he entered.

The elevator panel scanned his face, he tapped the button for his floor and unlike some buildings he’d lived in, the ascent was quick and smooth with no grinding sounds that had given cause for concern in his past residences.

The doors opened on his floor and the wide white-cream painted corridor ahead was quiet apart from a trio of dreggers attempting to get into a unit, trying to find a way to open the security scanner panel beside it’s door. They were bedraggled-looking, having lost most of their head hair with what remained looking washed-out in color, unhealthy and lank from accumulated grime. The air currents from the circulation system brought the stench of them to his nose, making him glad he’d had enough time for his stomach to settle after lunch.

He drew his gun with experienced ease and started towards them, his own unit lay behind a door not far beyond them. Someone up ahead on the other side of the corridor, opened their door to see what was going on, saw the dreggers and slammed their door shut, the solid sound of locking security bolts slamming into place immediately after.

The dreggers didn’t notice, and their drug-clumsy movements as well as their agitated state told him they were jonesing, as well as had nerve damage from whatever they’d been taking.

Stopping at a distance close enough to be heard but far enough to have time to get off enough shots to take them down, he addressed them.

“You can leave, or you can die. Get the hell out of here and don’t ever think about coming back.” He said, letting his mood dictate tone, levelling the gun at them at eye-level in a clear display that he was absolutely serious in both words and promised action.

They all looked at him, their dimly annoyed expressions turning to a bleared sense of alarm as they saw the gun.

The Steyr-Daimler Model-2019 Special Detective’s +Power Magnum Autorevolver in his hand was an intimidating-looking weapon that had become as highly-regarded and venerable as the ancient Colt 1911 semiautomatic. It’s dual triggers showing that it possessed the Overcharge Mode and could send a .375 calibre bullet downrange at speeds and force sufficient to drop even an all-out cranker riding the Crystal Angel.

From the slight angle, they could make out the dual-trigger set and the sense of alarm in their faces became sharper, becoming rage.

One pulled a battered and chipped chef’s knife from a folded cardboard sheath riding under their belt of salvaged cargo container lockstrap, another slid an ancient tire-jack handle from their waistband. They argued very briefly in a snatch of words then charged at him, one falling as they tripped over their own feet and untied sneaker laces.

There was no hesitation on Rick’s part.

He stayed calm as he took his shots--rear trigger, standard mode--deliberate and quick-aimed by long experience as they closed.

Three shots in rapid succession, each one impacting center-mass where a semi-jacketed fragmentational hollowpoint round inflicted catastrophic damage internally. His shots resulted in dropping both of the upright dreggers in mid-charge with the third killing the one who’d tripped instantly as the remaining two lay expiring on the floor in slowly growing pools of blood.

The dreggers spent their remaining seconds coughing and choking on blood from the gunshot wounds which had delivered massive and numerous internal fragment-injuries to heart and lungs as they writhed and struggled to fight off their imminent end in desperate futility.

“Goddamned dreggers. Third time this month.” He swore as he took out his phone, took pics, then called it in to police services, sending the pics as an attachment when prompted by the automated service system to Incident Review. He then hung up and continued down the corridor to his own door, gun still in hand but down by his side, pointed at the floor.

He tried the standard keycard and biometric clearance, and got a red bar on the display; Security Lockout

His door was security-barred, which didn’t surprise him in the least. Instead of using the override he had as the owner of the unit, he tapped the call button in a specific tone with a slight smirk of amusement.

The panel beside the door had a small monitor, and it lit up as Jessika activated the camera, her face on the monitor.

She saw him, smiled brightly and in some relief, as he heard the security bolts retract with a soft ‘thud’ sound just before the door opened and she stood there looking her usual gorgeous self.

Jessika was a supremely gorgeous masterpiece of IKON crafting and attention to detail. She tall at five-ten with a build that melded the concept of ‘slender’ to ‘curvaceousness’ in perfect integration with femininely-broad shoulders. Her dark red hair came down to just below the line of her shoulders. Her bust was exaggeratedly large and contrasted perfectly to her narrow waist and enticingly rounded hips. At present she was dressed in nothing more than a white thong and a half-top that fit loosely yet managed to show her upper figure off extremely well.

It was her preferred attire when home, allowing full tactile experience and with nothing to get in her way while housekeeping or engaging in other tasks.

A gun identical to his own was in her hand, down by her side, pointed at the floor and he enjoyed the dichotomy of the lethal weapon in the perfectly feminine, long-fingered hand.

“No trouble I assume? I didn’t see any grubby handprints on or by the door.” He said as he stepped inside, closing and locking the door behind him while giving her a quick, affectionate kiss.

“No, but if they’d known about me, I think that’d have made things different.” She replied, putting her gun aside on a small table nearby as he handed her the gun in his hand which she put aside also. She helped him take off his trenchcoat.then his suit jacket, reclaimed his gun and holstered it. That done, he removed the shoulder holster while walking into the living room as she collected her own gun and followed. Once there he kissed her properly, engagingly and with passion as opposed to haste.

Breaking from the kiss Jessika used a single hand to deftly start loosening his tie as she spoke her thoughts.

“How was your day? You’re home early.” Jessika asked, smiling as she could tell from dozens of tiny little cues he’d come home early from a reason to be happy about. With his tie loosened to an appealingly casual degree she safed the weapon in her hand then put it on the coffee table next to his bundle-wrapped shoulder holster. The small things attended to, she went to the small bar beside the balcony sliding glass door and fixed a couple of drinks.

As she set about making the drinks, in the grey, fog-mist distances visible through the door she could see the semi-obscured dark-bulk shapes of a pair of heavily-built, blocky starships coming in to land at the docks. They were on terminal approach, coming in slowly and straight down, the thunder of their lifters slightly audible despite the thick reinforced metacrete walls and soundproofing of the building.

“All-in-all, pretty good. Better now, much improved by the company.” He said with a grin as he sat down on the sofa, checked her gun over then put it aside again.

“Do tell?” Jessika asked as she made exactly-perfect classic Martini’s. When done she arrived at the sofa, offered him his and ensconced herself on the sofa closely beside him.

“I have someone interested in a Skyrunner and the payment for those two buses finally cleared verification. All-in-all, a pretty good day. The bonus was being able to remove a few dreggers from the streets, though I’d have preferred to have had that happen outside the building.” He said, putting his arm around her while they started on the drinks and let the working-day fade.

Jessika’s thoughts on the day were pleased and happy with relief that her owner hadn’t been harmed. Those individuals in the world known colloquially as ‘Dreggers’ were something she saw as the world being far better off without. She held no compassion for them, as they had made their choices to pursue the lives they led and in pursuing slow self-dissolution. Freedom of choice was a double-edged sword she knew very well.

As a SynthIkon, she was fully capable of self-protection as well as engaging in defense of her owner and on occasion had call to engage in such unpleasant activities with regard to dreggers.

Dreggers were almost always very aggressive and frequently they were dangerously hostile, more than willing to take any opportunity they thought they could get away with to steal, rape and indulge themselves in their preferred drugs of choice.

They were a persistent and serious problem the world over, one she thought was always best handled with a bullet, as she had on several occasions since her Incarnation when out running errands alone.

Turning her mind away from those avenues, she returned to the more pleasant and brighter pathways of function, enjoying how they made the cultured-organic components of her cerebrostructure feel.

“I assume then you’ll maybe be taking the weekend off?” She inquired.

“I shouldn’t, but it’s mid-month and this weekend is when several car companies are doing their big Fall reveals, so might as well. I’ll keep the business line open, just in case some of my business-related buyers need a this, or a that.” Rick answered, enjoying the splendidly perfect room-temperature Martini.

Drinks and an old movie that started with a sports car crashing down a hillside and through a house led to touching, groping, kissing and then much more as passion ignited once the shadow of the working-day world had entirely evaporated.

At one point with Rick behind her, Jessika pointed out that he should take a break for dinner, getting a crisp slap on her right posterior cheek in reply as well as a chuckle. Grinning over her shoulder at Rick as well as being arousedly-amused at his primally-direct manner of reply she asked a playfully-dutiful question.

“So that translates to; ‘Pizza. Later.’ Yes?”

He took a handful of her hair, close at the scalp and dragged her up to him, his arms wrapping around her waist from behind her with her arms over his in the embrace.

“I’ll leave it up to you…unless breakfast comes around first.” He said playfully into her ear as she leaned back into him, thoroughly immersed in the combination of lust, the embrace, sex and love as his efforts stoked her steadily towards orgasm.

As her owner showered in preparation for their going out for dinner, Jessika employed certain functions and equipment built into her as she accessed the encrypted and secure telemetry link for his implants while she finished getting ready.

She checked the status of the pacemaker, defibrillator, the sensor-response connection between them, then checked the small microcomputers implanted in some of his ribs and leg bones as well as his systemic biomonitor..

The microcomputers controlled swarms of microscopic drones resident in his body and bloodstream. They were a check and balance versus some disorders he had with his immune system and complications for his circulatory system arising from sickle-polysythemia. The biomonitor gave more general information which yielded an overall and comprehensive if less-detailed state of his condition.

She very carefully scrutinized the data flow, checking operational parameters, recent incident reports and severity as she finished dressing, then went to the kitchen and set out two extra-strength, buffer-coated aspirin for him on the counter on a small saucer.

Things were overall very good for him health-wise, but a small, stubborn blockage was developing where sickle-shaped red blood cells were logjamming and the blood-thinning effects of the medication she knew would go a long ways to assisting the micro-drones in clearing it.

Rick studied himself in the mirror after drying off, running his fingers through his business-styled dark brown hair to give it some rogueish ‘spike’. The face looking back at him was caucasian with suggestions of Arabic ancestry here and there in the lines and structure depending on the light, attractive and handsome but not extremely-so. Large green eyes were what held people’s attention most often about him.

He ran a shaver over his face as he ignored the transient, slight tingling in his leg while thinking about The White Dragon. It was a favorite Japanese restaurant of his and Jessika’s as it’d been the very first one he’d taken her to after Incarnation, and the food as well as service was always praiseworthy.

“I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be you…you have such an…outside and perfectly objective perspective of us dumb monkeys.” Rick said to Jessika as they made their way to the parkade after the dinner they’d thoroughly enjoyed.

Jessika smiled, considered then answered.

“I’m not sure if there’s words that’d work, not that I’ve found despite some considerable searching. I don’t think there’s any bridge between Human and SynthIkon perspective. Maybe a direct-connection, through a neural interface rig?” She said.

“Hmm, that’d be interesting…seeing the world as you see it, seeing the inside of your mind. Can you look that up, see if anyone’s ever done such before?” He replied.

Jessika nodded, accessing the internet as they were in an area with decent connection-strength, began a series of searches from general-sweeps and rapidly narrowing to specific-focus.

It took less than a second.

“There’s some records of it being attempted, results vary widely in reported experiences. Nothing I’d call ‘definite’, I think we should try digging for more before attempting it. Some instances are overwhelmingly positive while others have resulted in permanent brain damage and one death from shock.” Jessika said in answer, with a concerned and cautioning tone.

Rick considered and nodded.

“Good plan, yeah this isn’t something to rush into playing with. But I do want to try it, I want to see your world, have that connection. You’re not really a machine after all…I look in your eyes, I definitely see someone looking back at me.” He said.

Jessika experienced a ‘halting’ as her brain worked to understand, analyze and cope with what had been said. The optronic systems did well but when combined with the organic abilities of the living tissue nodes, the result and ‘solution’ was a leap beyond cold machine logic and binary processing.

It was emotion. Genuine and wholly real, as she’d been designed to experience. She had experience with it since her Incarnation, but it was times such as this that made emotional experiences truly special and treasured.

She looked at him in surprise, smiled, and tears started from her eyes, according to design, software and genuine living response.

“Thank-you…I-I’ve never heard such a beautiful compliment before.” She said, genuinely and whole-heartedly sincere, ignoring her tears and smiling even brighter as the fullness of the compliment settled comfortably into organic experience-memory.

She wrapped her arms loosely around his left arm, holding onto his arm and moving closer in affection as they continued down the sidewalk among the night time crowds beneath the low clouds that were dunly reflecting the light from the galaxy of the city’s lights.

END

artificial intelligence

About the author

RL Blackburne

RL Blackburne, rogue author. I'm a creative writer; Sci-fi, Erotic, and try to dabble in Fantasy though my brain stubbornly resists changing gears to that.

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