Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Tell me, Mr. Brunner, how did your first date go?”

“Very well, thank you. She was quite pretty. Actually, ‘cute’ would be a more accurate word. She had curly blond hair, crystal-blue eyes, fantastic smile, and dimples.”

“How about her scent? Did you notice if she had a sent?”

“What? Of course not. Why would I smell her?”

“Thank you, Mr. Brunner, that’s all for now. We’ll talk again tomorrow, after we make some adjustments.


“Tell me, Mr. Brunner, how did your second date go?”

“Absolutely fantastic. Louisa is a goddess. And I noticed this time. She has a lavender fragrance that drove me wild.”

“Excellent. Have you thought about proposing to her?”

“What? Of course not. We’ve just met.”

“That will be all for today.”


“Tell me, Mr. Brunner, how did your latest date go?”

“Doctor Kane, Louisa is the one. I can’t imaging living another day without her. She’s all I think about. I plan to ask her to marry me tonight.”

“Perfect,” replied the doctor. Turning toward his partner, he said, “Well, Dianna, I believe the new formula is ready. I think we can terminate the experiment, and set up a conference with the client.”

“What are you talking about?” inquired Brunner. “What experiment?”

“I guess we can tell you now,” replied Kane. “Louisa doesn’t exist. She’s a virtual person that the computer created so that we can test simulated drugs for the treatment of depression. Ever since 2135, we’re not allowed to use actual people to evaluate the effects of experimental drugs on humans. All of our clinical studies have to be done on simulations.”

“Nooooo,” cried Brunner. “Louisa is real. I know it. I love her.”

“Come, come, Mr. Brunner. You’re not listening? We can’t use real people in these experiments. And that includes you. You’re an android. Your emotional responses are just complicated mathematical algorithms intended to simulate the mental state of depressed humans. And, if we programmed you correctly, you’re about to make Dianna and me very rich.” Kane picked up the control padd and put the android in sleep mode.

“Dammit Tom,” snapped Dianna, “Was that necessary. You didn’t have to tell him. We could have let them get married before ending the simulation. He was in love. You could have given him a happy ending.”

“Dianna, I thought that you were a scientist, not a romantic. He’s just a tool. A means to an end. If you make him real in your mind, you’ll lose your objectivity. It’s all programming; ones and zeros, nothing more.”

“I don’t know,” Dianna replied. “I keep thinking that if it were me, I wouldn’t want to know that I was just a simulation?”

“Well, it’s not you, so let’s drop it.”

“How do you know it’s not us? Maybe we’re creations in a computer too. We could be part of an experiment to test the ethical behavior of research scientists. How can you be sure?”

“I’m sure,” was the curt reply.

“Okay then, let me ask you this. We’ve worked together in this lab for two years. Do you know what perfume I use?”

“What? Of course not. Why would I smell your… Oh crap!”

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows

%d bloggers like this: