Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

They lay together for hours after they’d finished, he propped on one elbow, she on her back, eyes closed for the most part, but opening one occasionally to watch him watching her.

“It’s the way the sun reflected in your eyes that caught my attention Captain, it was as though your eyes shone only for me.”

He smiled slightly, running his fingertips from her shoulder, along her collarbone and down the valley between her breasts. Millions of tiny receptors translated the sensation to her as one of pleasure, while he simply recalled what it had felt like to draw his fingers across real flesh. Not these fingers mind, ones he remembered from a long, long time ago.

She rolled onto her side to face him, curled her free foot behind his calf and pulled her leg up until her thigh was at a perfect right angle to his.

He found it ironic how they continued to engineer their bodies to resemble so closely the humans they despised so greatly, and still, even in something as messy and chaotic as sex, they were all perfect angles and predictable velocities.

“There’s something different about you, something…”, she paused, considering him for a moment before continuing, “Empathetic.” She grinned, pleased with herself for identifying the characteristic. “It’s your differentiator. Hereinafter you will be known as Empathy One.”

“But my designation is Maddox Three-”

“Nonsense.” She cut him off abruptly. “I declare Empathy One to be an immutable pointer to Maddox Three, Maddox Three to be a private designation accessible only to me.” She drew one perfect fingernail along his jawline, then placed the finger on his lips for him to kiss. “I am your Queen, you would be wise not to argue with me.”

He nodded. He had no intention of arguing over any decisions she made that further embedded him with her.

“Good. You will be my private Empathy One from this point forward, with all the privileges of a Prime.”

He’d laid his hand on her hip when she’d turned, and he slid it up the curve of her waist, to her back then over the top of her shoulder to draw his palm slowly across the curve of her breast, noting her eyes half close again as she hardened beneath his touch.

He remembered laying like this with women once, when he was as much human as this Queen was machine. So much of him had changed, and while the memories were available to him with crystal clarity, so too was the fact that they belonged to another life, another time.

Generations of gene manipulated breeding, then countless surgeries, constant training and maniacal amounts of social engineering had brought him to the front row in the Queen’s parade, and an iris filter designed to be the atomic complement to the Queen’s and no small amount of chance had brought him ultimately to her bed.

“I will be yours and yours alone, my Queen.” He closed his hand gently and watched the rapturous effect that played out across her face.

In the end he wasn’t sure how much of his mass was human, and how much was no better than she, but he knew that at his core he represented humanity, and that he was a portal now in a position to wield much power.

This was the longest of long games, and they were playing to win.

Empathy One, indeed.

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