Chapter 33: Blue's Interlude

Blue couldn't help but wonder why being called a friend by Alexander did strange things to her emotional processors.

She had been called 'friend' by the organic entity/human many times over the years the two had known each other. She even recalled a time when BestFriend=Alexander term for her had been 'fwend,' because as a child he'd had trouble pronouncing the word.

Blue still found it adorable. Idly, she replayed a memory-file she'd saved of one such incident. All the data Blue had on Alexander told the Medium Stubby that the organic entity/human would experience the emotion known to her as [EMBARRESSMENT] if he knew she'd made several backups of these precious data-files of his youth. And shared them with others, machine and android alike.

The Machine Lifeform with the blue bow on her head had calculated it was wiser not to tell him she'd made a lot of trade currency/money off of these data-share transactions. She did not want him to be [ANNOYED-UPSET] with her.

Closing the memory-file depicting a young Alexander, Blue found herself feeling [ANNOYED-UPSET] with herself regardless. She still couldn't properly formulate a proper designation/name for what she was experiencing.

She once more analyzed and went over the emotions she felt whenever she was with Alexander, and he called her 'friend.' It was like two entirely different responses were being activated at once within her emotional processors. On the one hand, it registered as [JOY-HAPPINESS-RELIEF-CONTENTMENT] but at the same time, parts of her drivers were registering [DESIRE-RESENTMENT-G&%$!].

It was the last emotion that worried her the most. She didn't know what it was. It was unknown, a new feeling, one she couldn't explain. None of the other machines in the village had ever reported experiencing this particular emotion before.

To Blue, it felt {hot-cold-sticky} like [DESIRE] but with the {dark-sad-heavy} of [DESPAIR]. Worse, sometimes it had the {burn-melt} sensation of [ANGER], something Blue did not like the feeling of at all.

The strange emotion lurked within her processors and she could not dislodge it, for it always came back no matter how many times she deleted the mysterious emotion. And it always came back when Alexander was around.

Blue noticed it grew stronger when she saw him with other androids, but not always. It did not appear when he was with the androids Alexander had designated as 'family,' nor did it manifest when Alexander was in proximity to androids designed to emulate the human male form. It was only with those entities termed 'gynoids,' or androids built in homage of the female human form, that Blue felt the unwelcome and unrecognized emotion.

Recently, though, she'd even begun experiencing the strange feeling whenever Alexander brought up Purple Athena. She was a machine, just like Blue, but whenever Alexander spoke about her, his emotions were always different. Sometimes he was afraid when he mentioned Purple Athena. Sometimes amused. And, increasingly frequently, Alexander was affectionate for the machine he only ever met in his dreams. The very thought of Alexander having such a deep, meaningful connection to another machine filled Blue with [FEAR-UNEASE] but also [G&%$!].

It was uncomfortable, and it scared Blue.

She eventually tried sharing her problems with VillageLeader=Pascal, but even the older and wiser Machine hadn't been able to decipher the data-kernel Blue had given the village leader with a copy of the emotion inside.

Eventually, Blue grew tired of debating with herself and trying to figure out what the new emotion was. Besides, according to the clock app, it was several hours later than when she usually got up for the day. She disconnected her consciousness from her internal operating system and sent her consciousness into the Prime Node of her external operating system in order to exit Sleep Mode.

A second later, Blue 'opened her eyes.' In truth, she was merely turning on her visual receptors, but the machine with the 'heart' of a girl liked the human phrase a lot more. She liked a lot of what the ancestors of Alexander had done. They'd been so artistic, so clever and creative!

Her [APPRECIATION-APPROVAL] was overridden by a wave of [SORROW] that flowed through Blue's emotional systems as the first thing her eyes spotted once 'opened' was the bow on her head. It happened every time, and while it was unpleasant, Blue never allowed herself to delete the memories that triggered the sadness.

The bow had once belonged to her 'big' sister. Although BigSister=Pink had been a regular Stubby model, and thus smaller than her, Blue could only think of her as such. It simply made sense.

Blue could recall the time when she been freshly disconnected. It was strange, and it'd been chaotic. She knew nothing. But Pink had found her, saved her, and taught her things. Pink had shared data explaining how to survive. How to function. Pink had gone from Stranger=Pink, to Helpful=Pink, to finally BigSister=Pink.

They were together for only a year when the two found Pascal's village and moved in. And then just a few years later, Blue lost her to the Frenzied Machines unleashed by the Evolved Machine, Eve. It had hurt, losing her. But Blue would not allow herself to forget Pink, either, just to feel better temporarily.

'Pink would have liked Alexander,' Blue mused. She then looked down at herself, performing a diagnostic scan.

'Power levels… optimal. No bleed or drain detected. Chassis integrity at 97%, systems at 92% functionality. Make note to check joints and servo-units in left arm if functionality drops below 90%.'

As she checked over herself, Blue couldn't help but wish she had a body like the androids. They were so much more aesthetically pleasing.

'And maybe Alexander would pay more attention to me if I looked different,' Blue thought, [DISLIKE-DISDAIN-DISAPOINTMENT] towards her bulky, cylindrical trashcan-like body squirming through her processors.

Thinking about the androids and comparing them to her body sent another flash of [G&%$!] through her, and Blue shuddered as she felt the unknown emotion again.

She then shunted the unwelcome emotional-data away and buried it under happier thoughts. Blue left her hut/home and went into the village to play with some of the other machines, and later see if Pascal needed help teaching any newcomers.

Yet even so, Blue could not delete the thought that had popped up in her thoughts: Would Alexander prefer me in a new body?

Buried deep beneath numerous processes, programs, and protocols, something lurked, dark and invisible to the Machine's scans and firewalls.
It watched, peering through cracks in the Network that remained within all Machine Lifeforms, regardless of how long ago they'd detached from it.
And as it watched, it learned. Learned about the Machines who had abandoned it. The androids who continued to oppose it. And, most importantly, it observed the human, and learned all about him.
'He will be mine,' the watcher declared. 'No one else can have him!'
And poor Blue never realized that her thoughts were no longer her own.