Author: wndrw8 PM
Is he real? Or just pretending? warning for creepiness David/Elizabeth ShawRated: Fiction T - English - Angst - E. Shaw & David - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,412 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 92 - Follows: 51 - Updated: 06-21-12 - Published: 06-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8226594
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
She straddles his chest, sitting midway along his abdomen as her fingers delve into wires and fleshy polymer. His head is half connected now, and she can feel the current (life force? veins?) running through the body parts beneath her. He stares at her. Enough to be unsettling.
"Thank you, Doctor Shaw."
She bites her lip as she attaches the last few wires under his direction.
It helps her to think of him as a machine. That way she can use him as needed. Before Prometheus, before Holloway died and everything happened she was inclined to think of Androids more as human than machine. They were beings that needed respect in order to thrive. But she can't think like that now. She recognizes in David the same human emotions that would make her hate another—jealousy, contempt, selfishness, a complete disregard for others…
"Doctor Shaw, you may get off of me now."
She realizes she is still straddling him and slowly stands. His body jerks forward, testing, and is finally able to push itself into standing position. He towers over her. She never noticed until now, until after he's brought about the demise of practically the entire crew, how physically intimidating David is.
He cocks his head. A piece of loose wire sparks when he does. "You are concerned, Doctor Shaw. What seems to be the problem?"
YOU are the problem, she wants to say.
She is still so devastated, so tired, that the words cloud in her mind before she is able to say them. Perhaps it is for the best.
"Doctor Shaw, the staples in your stomach will need removing. They are infected."
"I'll do it myself, David. Thank you."
"You did it yourself the first time. And that is why they are infected."
His face is cherubic, chiding. For a person who claims to not have emotion, he is surprisingly good at playing coy. She thinks of all the times he helped her and no one else—the way he stood by her after awakening from the pod, the way he covered her with his coat. He was attached to Weyland. Perhaps he is attached to her, too, and she can use that to her advantage.
Just a machine, she reminds herself. Use him as such.
There is no way for her to tell if David is plotting the right course or not. She can't read the star charts here, and she is unable to operate most of the equipment. It makes her feel strangely hopeless—she can't even control where she will go as she dies.
Because she will die here. That much she is sure of.
The following morning, the staples in her stomach are painfully tender. Swollen, with pink skin and white pus around the edges. She grimaces as she touches one.
"Please, let me remove them."
She shakes her head. "I'll do it."
Are androids built to trail off like that? David stands, leaning to the side a bit, and his posture is so human that she feels her stomach knotting. He is a machine, she reminds herself. He is precise. He is accurate.
Carefully she lowers herself onto the bed and lifts up the shirt she found in the duffle bag. "Take them out, then."
"I will need you to take off both sets of garments."
"Would you ask a doctor why, if he or she requested the same of you?"
Elizabeth startles at this. He is indignant. Is he programmed as such? There is something gnawingly delicate about the way he is looking at her right now, like he feels wronged, like he is hurt by her mistrust of him. She takes off the shirt and then the pants, feeling the cool ship air spring goosebumps across her skin. Her hairs stand on end as he settles beside her on the bed, pulling over a small table laden with medical instruments next to them.
He hums while he works.
His fingers delicately remove the staples, causing her to hiss, and then he draws a cloth full of antiseptic over the blistering wound. Her nipples have hardened because of the air temperature but she doesn't feel embarrassed. There is no one around for miles and miles and miles that could ever possibly know of her reaction and make her feel ashamed for it.
Certainly not David.
She can tell he notices by the way his eyes flicker to her breasts and then back.
"You are hurt that I don't trust you," she says after he stops humming, "but you haven't done anything to gain my trust."
He cocks his head, smoothing ointment over the wound with his index finger. "On the contrary, I saved your life during the dust storm."
"And you killed Holloway."
"I saved your cross for you."
"You took it for yourself."
His eyes widen. They shine, like tears are about to spring forth, but they don't. "Is that what you think I did?"
He looks so full of emotion that it catches her off guard. Her heart rate quickens; she feels the heat rising to her cheeks as he smooths an invisible glaze of medical glue across her abdomen. What is this? Sympathy? Pity? She should deactivate him and be done with it…
"I can tell by your nervous system response that you are questioning your logic, Doctor Shaw. That makes me…" his hand smooths across the tip of her ribcage, a gratuitous motion that is so personal and intimate that she begins to tremble, "it makes me feel happy to see you consider things from my point of view. That is why I favor you. You have a very strong conscience."
Can machines manipulate? David tells her the days are passing, but she has no way of knowing. She busies herself with memorizing every nook and cranny of the ship, with writing her thoughts down in the computer for no one to ever find.
She feels him watching her.
They sit together in the cockpit, watching the stars, and David hums. In the duffle, Elizabeth has found several dozen doses of morphine. She purifies it, extracting the opium, clean, and vaporizes it for smoking.
She remembers Holloway doing this once, back in Ireland.
As she breathes it in, her lungs seem to expand. Warmth. Calm. She never would've done this back home, but she'll never be home again and at least it gets rid of some of the pain. Her head rolls back against the chair of the cockpit and she feels David looking at her, as if through a haze.
"Doctor Shaw, are you alright?"
She waves him away. "Don't call me Doctor Shaw."
"What may I call you, then?"
"Something less impersonal. I'm sure you'll think of something."
She breathes in a little more and puts the rest of it away. She will have many miserable days in which she'll need this.
She hates to be somebody that needs a drug, that needs an android, but things have changed.
"You know…" David begins. He looks up and smiles at her, a sort of half smile half smirk, "When I heard that it was you who survived… I was very please."
"Is that so?"
"I was overjoyed."
"Because you like me?"
"Very much so, I'm afraid."
Even with the haze of opium, Elizabeth feels a discomfort in her stomach. It eats at the inside of her, like her hunger, like the sickness she feels when she thinks of Holloway. She is not sure where they will go with this conversation, but it needs to be had. "Are you programmed to love, David?"
"Not originally. But I had sufficient time aboard the Prometheus to make changes in my programming. I believe… I do love now. Yes."
She stands, turns her back on him and tries to control her breathing, but it's impossible. She wants to smoke herself into oblivion, to get away from him.
But then his hands are on her shoulders, squeezing so tight she almost can feel her bones snapping.
"I think I made a mistake," David says, slowly. "Onboard Prometheus. A choice I now regard with regret. I am sorry, Ellie."
Elizabeth yanks herself from his grip and locks herself inside her quarters for two days straight.
When she finally has to come out for food, she finds David sitting at the control panel in the cockpit, his eyes illuminated by the star charts. He has smoothed out the bumps along his neck, making him look more human than ever, and she wonders if he's done it on purpose.
"Please… don't leave again," he whispers. "It is awfully lonely up here."
"You don't know how real loneliness feels."
"And you do? Because of the loss of your father and… Holloway?"
He is malicious in his directing of the conversation. Purposely malicious, she thinks. Perhaps he studies her and her negative emotions, watching how she changes so he can change himself. "David, tell me why you changed your programming. Why would you want emotion? Why would you want to feel anything negative?"
"Because it makes me more human."
"You are not human."
"Yes, but I would like to be."
No, she wants to scream. Stop. You aren't real. You can't pretend.
But deep down she senses his emotions have grown to be a part of him. His jealousy, his anger, his obsession… Her obsession has caused her to do bad things, hasn't it? She was the one that wanted to come here after all. And now she is the only one left.
"How much longer until we reach our destination?"
He glances up at the star charts, smiles at her. "One year, three months, five days."
"And my rations?"
"I've been working on a garden in the cargo bay. I should be able to reproduce the bean pods you brought with you, as well as a few other things."
Elizabeth looks up at the star charts, watching them fluctuate and shimmer. She is so alone out here, more alone than she ever thought it possible to feel.
David touches her hand. His grip is strong, but not enough to hurt her. "It is my greatest wish to see you survive, Doctor Shaw."
He keeps holding her hand, his thumb running along her palm and she finally looks him in the eye. He is the only one here, her brain says. Use him. Use him to stay sane, you know you have to.
But her heart just won't let her.