“Good afternoon Miss — Stevenson; we have computed your application for the one time fee of $50.00 and have a perfect match for you, but I must warn you that our “Bio-2000″ product is delicately balanced, not only to meet your needs for companionship but also for your more intimate needs. So delicately balanced that should you have an intimate relation with any other person the balance will tumble and our product will return to our inventory and be lost from you. And I must tell you that in almost every case, when this separation occurs, there is no possibility of reunion. Do you understand?”
“Yes — yes I guess so. I mean I understand your words but I don’t understand why the — “
“Bio-2000.” He prompted.
“Thank-you, I don’t understand why the ‘˜Bio-2000’ product should be recalled, so to speak, just because of any — indiscretion on my part?”
“The reason is quite simple really; the relationship begins as soon as you hold its hand. This causes many sensors and testing nodes to activate and personify the Bio-2000 to your exact chemical signature which defines many of your deepest fears and desires. The human body even gives off chemicals that reveal the state of their health, something that pets have often been seen to take notice of by their keen sense of smell.”
“Our Bio-2000 can detect a change of chemicals every bit as good, and when you have intimate relations with another person they leave the presence of their chemicals with you and that causes a conflict of programming. From being intimately in tune with your person it suddenly receives inputs of sensory identification that now has the semblance of a man and a woman, both having completely different needs and desires. And since for all intents and purposes you may have in a companion, your main desire is for the Bio-2000 product to be in the resemblance of a man, and so it is designed. But any mans chemical signature is going to be intended for a woman’s semblance and that conflict will result in a malfunction that will activate the recall program.”
“I see.” Miss Stevenson said.
“Then just sign here and your Bio-2000 will be delivered today. That’s all there is to it. Thank-you for coming by, your business is appreciated.
Miss Stevenson was a lonely woman not much older than thirty — thirty three to be exact. She lived alone. She never married. A school teacher who earned a little more than $35,000.00 a year.
She had heard of the Bio-2000 on a late night commercial; described as an interpersonal life like android, made by some new corporation that seemed to appear out of nowhere and was giving them away; literally giving them away to anyone that paid for and answered the application form.
At first Miss Stevenson scoffed at the idea but the idea became a big success over time and the television ads became ever more appealing and revealing. The Bio-2000 product, they called it, was so real, so life-like that it was impossible to tell them apart from a real person. Add to that the “Sensory-Seal” that personalized it to one person for life and it became all that any owner could ever hope for, wish for, in a companion, and Miss Stevensons lonely life seemed to become intolerably lonely. Thus she became more interested in the Bio-2000.
She wasn’t the only one, hundreds, possibly thousands were marketed and though it wasn’t understood how the company that made the “product” could make any money from their “free” offer, since the complexity of construction was obviously expensive, even if a closely guarded trade secret, it never the less continued making them and giving them away for a mere pittance.
For the owner of one it was soon seen that the Bio-2000 product was strongly loyal and very able to protect their owner. Most everyone who owned one didn’t think of it as a property to own, but as a dear friend or lover if need be. A person that was always kind, unless a certain measure of roughness was needed or desired, but never to the point of regret. A perfect gentleman, or lady, depending on the owners own identity and preference.
And so, it was only a matter of time before Miss Stevenson purchased and filled out the application.
Now she waited at her home, a small one bedroom condo that was expensive and took almost all she could afford, to make payments on, but as a woman with very few vices or friends, it was home; secure and fashionable in a part of town that was affluent and popular and safe.
A knock on her door caused her to stand and nervously look around the room to find assurance in its neat and tidy d©cor. When she opened the door she was momentarily taken aback, the man who stood there was him; it had to be — his tall strong form, with dark hair and piercing brown eyes, tanned as if he worked outdoors, though more of a natural complexion as found in the French ancestry, was all she asked for.
Miss Stevenson was aware of the time only as her pounding heart made her aware of the awkward silence. With an embarrassed exclamation she invited him in.
“Please, come in!” She invited.
“Thank-you Miss Stevenson, my name is Paul Andros.” And as he stepped into the condo he offered to shake hands.
By surprise Miss Stevenson reached out to shake Paul’s hand and felt a small tingle, like a shock, pass between the two hands. The Bio-2000 product seemed to ripple with a shudder and before her very eyes it became more of a man, more human. Almost like seeing a man of shallow personality transform into a man of depth and strength of purpose, with an actual gleam of appreciation coming alive in his eyes.
When next he spoke his voice was low and warm, filled with feeling that touched her deepest self and for a moment invoked a fear that caused her to jerk her hand back in reflex.
To Paul, the handshake was like an awakening — he suddenly had memories with feelings; where before his memories were like a video file of someone’s life, devoid of any personal knowledge of what the person felt even if the person was meant to be himself. Yet now the memories had feelings of human warmth. Feelings that came from Miss Stevenson as though they were how she would feel in the many different situations that he saw himself in. From these feelings he would begin to develop life-like feelings more of his own making but still heavily influenced by Miss Stevenson’s root feelings.
It did not matter that the “experiences” could have been felt differently to the actual person whom was discretely video taped with Paul’s face super imposed over the original face, Paul knew exactly what Miss Stevenson — Sandra, felt and he quickly became timidly bashful.
“I’m sorry if I have frightened you. I don’t know what has come over me — the moment we touched I knew I had to know your name, your first name. I feel as if I have known you all my life and until now I just existed, empty in my heart, but now filled with strong — love — yes, I must sit down — please?” Paul asked.
“Please sit. I’m sorry I seem to have forgotten my manners; may I get you something to drink — I mean — .”
“Thank-you! Water will be fine.” Paul said. “I’m sorry too; it’s all so sudden for me.”
“That’s okay.” She said. “It’s all been very sudden for me too. But please, call me Sandy — it’s Sandra, but all my friends call me Sandy.” she then hurriedly got him a glass of cold water.
After taking a drink he said: “Thank-you for the water Sandy, I’m feeling much better now.” Then, looking around, Paul saw Sandy’s condo with new eyes. No longer was it viewed as a destination, but as a habitat for living in, in comfort with cultural furnishings that showed class of style as well as colorfully coordinated. All was restful and calm but curiously devoid of any clashing of personalities.
There was no man in Sandra’s — Sandy’s life, and Paul could see that even though the heavy curtains were open, the light gossamer inner curtains were closed; like a barrier against the world, holding it back from coming too close, almost afraid to let anyone see into her heart, yet not because of any trauma suffered in her past, but of a gradual life style of devotion to her job, and her students.
Her time was spent in efficiency and purpose that precluded outside activities that others seemed to spend too much time with. But Paul knew her heart most intimately and saw the passion just beneath the surface, ready to embrace a change. Ready to reach out in faith to a relationship that is bolder yet safe, more open yet protected. He opened the curtains fully.
The time seemed to fly by for Sandy, as she and Paul talked, and before she knew it, it was dark and the dinner hour three hours past. Talking with Paul was such a pleasure as she has never experienced with a man. His tender glances at her, rapt in attention and curious in how she felt about things, how she thought about things, were with a sincerity that made her feel comfortable around him, his eyes hugged her, they didn’t leer in any dark fantasy and this in turn awoke within her, her own light fantasy.
At first fearing she was giving out wild signals that would unleash the sexual beast within Paul, she soon graduated into a pleasing comfort that allowed gentle touches upon him, or the playful push that was returned in the like manner.
But now it was late and although tomorrow was not a work day, (all first meetings were arranged for the weekend,) Sandy was at a loss as to how to proceed.
Paul, however, wasn’t. “Sandy, it’s getting late and, (taking her hand in his), I’ve never enjoyed myself more than in this short time with you. If you have an extra pillow and blanket I am more than willing to sleep on your sofa.”
“I don’t, I mean, I didn’t — I’m sorry; I think I want you to come share my bed. It’s big enough for two and — I feel safe with you as well as feel that any time spent with you will be special; so unless you want to sleep on the sofa you are welcome into my bedroom?” Sandy said.
“Then, I also choose to spend my time sharing those special moments with you sandy.” Paul said.
The bedroom experience was indeed a special time of sharing, that to some would probably seem celibate, but to Sandy it was a time of tenderness that was very sensually pleasing. It wasn’t a passionate rutting of animal pleasures but an embrace of sensitive touch, body upon body where Sandy lay spooned up against Paul, her back to his front, more than pleased to have her skin caressed with his roving hand.
It wasn’t about sex, but of learning to feel even more comfortable, if that were possible, with each others presence.
For Paul it was as if it was the most natural thing in the world and every nuance was to be savored as new and different.
For Sandy it was the letting down of barriers that were called modesty, but once seen for what they were: of fear, loneliness, and rejection because of the lack of any meaning in her relationships — not a reflection of herself, but of those men she’s known in a strictly platonic way. Letting these barriers down at first was accomplished with the detached emotion one would express while undressing in front of a pet; but her curiosity of Paul’s body as she watched him undress for bed was at first, amazed at his human anatomy; so real, and even as she looked, so tumescent. His body was warm and beautiful and she hoped that hers was viewed with the same excitement.
Paul held her close and whispered his everlasting devotion with feeling he could only call love.
The years passed quickly.
For Sandy the years with Paul were to be a dream comes true. He was in every way a warm hearted, kind and generous human being. His contributions only increased as he developed a work ethic and an independent personality; independent yet choosing to be in a committed relationship with Sandy.
At least that is how Sandy saw it; the reality was further off, his- Paul’s devotion was a synaptic impulse based on an incredibly life like computer program, sophisticated beyond anything known to man; utilizing what we call an artificial intelligence that is suspected to be based on a simple life form. A life form, that when melded to a super computer can become every bit as intelligent as a human. Of course all of this is only suspected or surmised since the mechanics of the Bio-2000 product is a proprietary knowledge protected by patent rights and a failsafe program that prevents dismantling by non-company personnel.
Should the product be “opened” the fail safe program activates and causes a massive system meltdown. Even the failsafe program is not understood and the question arises: Who in this world has the ability to do this remarkably impossible feat of engineering?
The company spokesman, the same person that interviewed all potential clients is known to the authorities — he has a history fully substantiated from his birth on. Cut him open and he bleeds blood, he must eat and sleep and breathe to live. He is without question a human. He has his job only because he answered an ad in the newspaper. The ad was real and verified, and his employer, met only once, was to him, as human as human; an older man who was evidently intelligent and something of a visionary. remembering him as he related his dream for a better world, he would remember him looking out into the ethereal space before and slightly above his head.
After that first meeting, his only contact with the owner was by computer when ordering the Bio-200 products according to the customer specifications. He was paid very well for his employment and had no reason to see his employer as anything more than an inventor, somewhat eccentric, but admirable and law abiding.
But after subtle yet intensive questioning of the spokesman by those in authority, he began resenting the 3rd. Degree, and started asking questions of his own: “Why are you asking me these questions? Has the law been broken? Am I under investigation?” And with that chain of reasoning brought out, he began his attack of veiled threats, threatening legal recourse and remedy from any and all accusations by a paranoid group of people that for all he could see was for the inability to compete in the market. For the spokesman, the practical give away of the Bio-2000 made perfect sense, since it did in fact cause an increase in peaceful living. Crime was cut in half, and dropping, as every would be mugger was easily overcome by the Bio-2000 product.
Better than a watch dog, stronger than an Olympic class weight lifter. What could anybody have to complain about? He didn’t know and as far as he was concerned, he didn’t care.
But others did care; others did know what to complain about. First came the men or women counterparts to the Bio-2000’s. The real men and women that were rejected by someone who had purchased the Bio-2000 product.
Real women got old, got pregnant with their ugly stretch marks and all of the problems of jealousy, divorce and alimony. Problems the Bio-2000 didn’t have. Real men had their own plans and when they made love or conversed with their owners, they were given to being distracted by their desires.
Real men found themselves being used as a one night stand, sort of a comparison check or a bold adventure for a woman, whom before her awakening in confidence and selfish desire found in her relationship with her Bio-2000 product, was shy and withdrawn; afraid of commitment and the possible complications of sex that she was unable to face should she become pregnant.
Those that did “experiment” or “dally” soon witnessed the malfunction of their “product” who they now considered as a very close and dear personal friend, and yes, lover to some! Soul-mates to others.
This malfunction and subsequent recall of the Bio-2000 brought many to panic in tearful self-reproach; causing most to seek out the spokesman and plead — no, beg for another chance.
Of course the spokesman was already well aware of the possibility of reuniting the Bio-2000 products with their penitent owners, but a price had to be paid. A final warning was given, never again can this re-union be given; or if the human was pregnant she must abort the pregnancy. There was no other option. Most all opted to abort.
Over time, many of these women would commit suicide due to inconsolable depression. Such is a common human condition often resulting from the receiving of an abortion.
Then the government became aware of the falling birth rate. Deaths soon outnumbered the births and this began to wreck havoc on the economy. There were fewer young people to raise up to train in the new sciences, and many companies struggled to train older applicants, but found that the older applicants didn’t even have a fundamental literacy of computers or electronics. Knowledge and familiarity that is taught in elementary schools with modern computerized classrooms.
Laws were enacted that were cause for uprisings and civil riots. Emotions were wild and outspoken from both sides of the spectrum. Proclamations were issued and broken and civil war broke out in many countries, only to consume a large number of people that the country, yes even the world, could possibly not recover from. For the Bio-2000 was a world class product bought and used and depended upon all over the world.
Curiously, through it all not a word was heard from the owner of the company that made the Bio-2000 product. The older, so called visionary of world peace — was strangely, silent.
Country after country, all reached a point where the civil wars could not be maintained. Its cost in money was not near as bad as its cost in man power. For all of the humans who fought for the Bio-2000’s were aided by their Bio-2000s and they were unbeatable.
The world came to a standstill. The leaders realized that in order for humanity to survive, births had to rise to unprecedented levels. Enclaves had to be formed and carefully nurtured to function as birth centers. It would take years, but if the remaining worlds resources were used for this global effort, rather than for continued wars, the leaders felt it could be done and the world could be saved.
Peace ensued; at that point the old visionary and maker of the Bio-2000 made an appearance on national television and seen all over the world for the world to see.
“Hello, I greet this fair planet. Many of you have wondered and perhaps guessed how it is that I am able to build a sophisticated android so life-like that it is impossible to distinguish the fake from the real. My name is not important but the planet I come from is. I come from Andromada in the galaxy of the star Orion. It is a small planet with only one other inhabitable planet in the same solar system; thus we must mine other planets for the resources needed to produce most of the products we sale to other species in other worlds.
Yet this is not so easily accomplished because this planet is inhabited and not a member of the federation of planets, which rule which planets are useable for our mining needs.
To become one of the federated planets such planets must be passed the stage of fissionable power and be at peace world wide. And until such planets are of this high maturity, we are not allowed to establish trade or make exchanges of scientific knowledge, which could cause even more disturbances to the planets growth. In fact, we are not given to even acknowledge a planet as inhabited unless their population exceeds the limits that allow for continued racial existence.
This planet you call earth, had that population needed for gene pool survival, before you went to war — but now you are near extinct and no longer recognized as solvent or capable of habitation and such are now open to being used by our planets mining needs.”
With that announcement, the visionary made a visible adjustment to the gadget he carried which sent out a radio signal that every Bio-2000 product picked-up and moved to obey by turning to the nearest human and killing them.
War again broke out, this time man against android. To a forgone conclusion, man was to be soon eradicated from the face of the earth; while the ‘˜visionary’ spoke one last time.
“Such a beautiful and resource full world — shame you didn’t have what it takes to keep it.”