Author : Christina Richard

More often than not, pretty girls do not get master’s degrees in neurorobotics. I am as ugly as your worst nightmare, but the bots I design have made grown men forget how to pronounce their own last names. And considering what happens to some of the bots I rent out, I’m goddamn glad I have thin, mousy hair and a crooked nose.

Take Dahlia for example, my most popular model. Her hair is chosen from the heads of only the most lovely slave girls, and her skin is a special rubber blend that feels almost human to the touch. Every Dahlia should have a gaze as empty as a wormhole, their sapphire-inlaid eyes luscious and vapid, but every now and then a few wires get knocked around and they do something interesting.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, the busiest day of the year for my company. One of my rental Dahlias came back this morning with half the rubber blend that was her face ripped away. Steel cheekbones underscored her eyes, and I noticed that her right iris was full of copper sockets from where the sapphires were shaken out. A dent in her temple made it look like she had been hit so hard that they loosened, spilling all over the carpet of someone’s bedroom rug. Dahlia’s red velvet gown hung off her in shreds. Amazingly, the white silk corset underneath was unharmed, still hugged her torso and breasts. Dahlia blinked vacantly, the sensor in her ruined eye glitching. She stared to my left.

“Hello mother,” she said. “My wires are loose.” Long lashes closed over her eyes, and stayed closed for a second too long. I wondered if there was a short circuit and cursed. The wiring would be no problem to repair, but the cosmetic damage would be costly.

Dahlia tilted her head when I swore. “Have I made you angry?” She said.

“No Dahlia. Lie down.”

Obediently, Dahlia hopped onto the metal table in the middle of the room and pulled the small lever below her clavicle. Both of her breasts released to either side of her torso, laying bare the wiring at Dahlia’s core. Sentimentalists keep the motherboard in the chest, where a human heart would be, but I find the stomach more efficient.

“Hold these for me,” I said, giving Dahlia a pair of pliers. I began to examine the internal damage. She had held up quite well, much better than the Venus model that came before her. I was impressed.

“You are just perfect, Dahlia,” I told her, smiling.

Dahlia’s face was very still as she stared at the ceiling tiles above her. I saw one of her eyebrows twitch, and stopped what I was doing; it’s rare for a bot to show involuntary movement, but in Dahlia’s damaged state it was no surprise.

“Will I be beautiful again?” She asked. “Can you fix me?”

“Yes, I can fix you. It’ll take time, but I promise you’ll be beautiful.”

Something in her copper iris looked almost human as she took the pliers in her hand and plunged them into the wires surrounding her motherboard. A shock pulsed through me and I was thrown back as Dahlia fried, the rubber blend bubbling into the wiring. Dumbfounded and bleeding, I peered over the side of the table to look at her. The eyebrow on her mangled, melted face was still frozen in that involuntary little twitch.


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